stale

adjective
\ ˈstāl How to pronounce stale (audio) \
staler; stalest

Definition of stale

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : tasteless or unpalatable from age stale bread
2 : tedious from familiarity a stale routine
3 : impaired in legal force or effect by reason of being allowed to rest without timely use, action, or demand a stale affidavit a stale debt
4 : impaired in vigor or effectiveness

stale

verb (1)
staled; staling

Definition of stale (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to make stale
2 archaic : to make common : cheapen

intransitive verb

: to become stale

stale

verb (2)
staled; staling

Definition of stale (Entry 3 of 4)

intransitive verb

: urinate used chiefly of camels and horses

stale

noun

Definition of stale (Entry 4 of 4)

: urine of a domestic animal (such as a horse)

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Other Words from stale

Adjective

stalely \ ˈstāl-​lē How to pronounce stale (audio) \ adverb
staleness noun

Examples of stale in a Sentence

Adjective a room filled with stale smoke viewers were bored by the stale story lines of the new crop of sitcoms
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective It’s also important, Morawska noted, that new air is distributed equally around a space, leaving no pockets of stale air where particles can linger. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, "How to Check If Your Boss’s Return-to-Office Plan Is Any Good," 3 May 2021 Most office buildings, hospitals and restaurants have mechanical ventilation systems that pull outside air inside, push stale air outside and recirculate indoor air through filters. Tara Parker-pope, Arkansas Online, "Safely grateful," 14 Nov. 2020 The stale rounded corner screen with hefty bezels could be on the way out soon, however. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "What to expect at Apple’s virtual event on April 20," 19 Apr. 2021 But year after year, the same old thing can get just a little stale. Outdoor Life, "Best Mother’s Day Gifts: Celebrate Your Outdoorsy Mom for Under $100," 12 Mar. 2021 The two iconic towers of Westminster—the Victoria Tower and the one that holds Big Ben—are both also ventilation towers that helped draw warm, stale air out of the buildings. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "We’re Just Rediscovering a 19th-Century Pandemic Strategy," 22 Feb. 2021 To ensure 2020 makes its exit, some recommend taking an old broom and sweeping the stale air from every corner of every room. Joan Rusek, cleveland, "Happy New Year, now it is time to start something new: Valley Views," 28 Dec. 2020 Most office buildings, hospitals and restaurants have mechanical ventilation systems that pull outside air inside, push stale air outside and recirculate indoor air through filters. Tara Parker-pope, Arkansas Online, "Safely grateful," 14 Nov. 2020 Most office buildings, hospitals and restaurants have mechanical ventilation systems that pull outside air inside, push stale air outside and recirculate indoor air through filters. Tara Parker-pope, New York Times, "Serve Up Some Extra Precautions at Your Thanksgiving Table This Year," 6 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Blinkie’s Donut Emporium, owned by a Cambodian American father-daughter duo, offers handmade donuts daily, always closing at noon so their selection never stales. Theo Stroomer, National Geographic, "This is the donut capital of the United States," 5 June 2019 The product has staled compared to the previous standards. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "It’s not a pretty picture inside Southlake Carroll’s football program," 27 Jan. 2018 Set collection is a particularly satisfying mechanism but one that stales easily; Fabled Fruit tweaks the formula in every game to bypass that problem. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "The best board games we played at PAX Unplugged," 24 Nov. 2017 Petty theft, Clifton Boulevard: Police were called to CVS Pharmacy about 2 a.m. Oct. 12 on a report of a man staling body wash items and leaving in a car. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Lakewood police respond to burglary, car theft complaints: police blotter," 22 Oct. 2017 While the bread is staling, combine blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan over low heat. Robin Mather, Detroit Free Press, "Icebox desserts worth the chill," 8 July 2017 Time may have withered her, to misquote Shakespeare, but custom will never stale this mother’s infinite, and exasperating, variety. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Our Mother’s Brief Affair,’ a Play About Unmoored Lives," 20 Jan. 2016 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Blinkie’s Donut Emporium, owned by a Cambodian American father-daughter duo, offers handmade donuts daily, always closing at noon so their selection never stales. Theo Stroomer, National Geographic, "This is the donut capital of the United States," 5 June 2019 The product has staled compared to the previous standards. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "It’s not a pretty picture inside Southlake Carroll’s football program," 27 Jan. 2018 Set collection is a particularly satisfying mechanism but one that stales easily; Fabled Fruit tweaks the formula in every game to bypass that problem. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "The best board games we played at PAX Unplugged," 24 Nov. 2017 Petty theft, Clifton Boulevard: Police were called to CVS Pharmacy about 2 a.m. Oct. 12 on a report of a man staling body wash items and leaving in a car. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Lakewood police respond to burglary, car theft complaints: police blotter," 22 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Danielle escapes to the buffet to finger stale-looking pastries, sandwiches filled with mayonnaise-y salads, gloopy pasta. Jocelyn Silver, Vogue, "Shiva Baby Is a Caustic Instant Classic With a Softy, Squishy Heart," 2 Apr. 2021 The first bite crunched into the burger’s onion rings and thick pretzel bun, which was a cut above Wendy’s usual signature, stale-to-the-touch buns. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Show us your buns: How does Culver’s stack up against McDonald’s and Wendy’s?," 10 Nov. 2020 As the supply of equities shrinks, developed nations from the U.S. to Japan are turning stale. Washington Post, "Fishing for Alpha? Take Your Investing Net to China," 19 Sep. 2019 Did McCarthy’s offense get stale in Green Bay at the end? Dallas News, "NFL head coaching grades: How do experts view Cowboys’ hiring of Mike McCarthy compared to other NFC East coaches?," 14 Jan. 2020 This manner of breaking down the fourth wall feels stale from the start. New York Times, "Review: Perfume Genius and Kate Wallich in a World of Angst," 14 Nov. 2019 And though the future looks bright, even that trope feels stale. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "A’s wake up from recurring October nightmare selling the future, again," 3 Oct. 2019 The subject is a topical one, but the approach feels stale. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "In Mindy Kaling’s Late Night, Women Strive For Excellence While Men DGAF," 7 June 2019 The sage smudge stick is sitting stale in a drawer. Anne-marie Yerks, House Beautiful, "My House Was Hiding a Tragic Secret — And I Needed to Know the Truth," 15 Oct. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stale.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of stale

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1599, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1548, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stale

Adjective

Middle English, settled, clear (of ale), not fresh, from Anglo-French estale, probably from Middle Dutch stel old (of beer)

Verb (2)

Middle English; akin to Middle Low German stallen to urinate, stal urine of horses

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Time Traveler for stale

Time Traveler

The first known use of stale was in the 15th century

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Statistics for stale

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stale. Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for stale

stale

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stale

of food : no longer good or appealing : no longer fresh
: not clean, clear, or pure : having an unpleasant taste or smell
: not interesting or new : boring or unoriginal

stale

adjective
\ ˈstāl How to pronounce stale (audio) \
staler; stalest

Kids Definition of stale

1 : having lost a good taste or quality through age stale bread
2 : used or heard so often as to be dull stale jokes
3 : not so strong, energetic, or effective as before He felt stale in his job.

stale

adjective

Legal Definition of stale

: impaired in legal effect or force by reason of not being used, acted upon, or demanded in a timely fashion a search warrant based on stale information a stale claim

More from Merriam-Webster on stale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stale

Nglish: Translation of stale for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stale for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stale

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