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)

Keep scrolling for more

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 The antifa rumor is unsurprising and sort of stale—a knee-jerk response at this point to anything that certain right-wing commentators see in public and don’t like. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Watching MAGA World Fracture in Real Time," 8 Jan. 2021 The showroom was stale, the service area needed upgrades. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "Longtime Livonia Chevy dealership was supposed to close. Now it's a top seller," 18 Dec. 2020 The key to this system (as with any caching system) is proper configuration of TTLs: long enough so that the queue stays relatively low and the origin servers are not overwhelmed, but short enough to limit the time stale content is in cache. Frank Sharpe, ProPublica, "Meet the Baconator," 2 Oct. 2020 Challah lasts awhile, and this recipe works no matter how dry and stale the loaf has become. Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune, "Twin Cities bakers put their own twist on challah," 4 Dec. 2020 Without speedy trials, jails become overcrowded, evidence grows stale and witnesses’ memories fade. New York Times, "Only 9 Trials in 9 Months: Virus Wreaks Havoc on N.Y.C. Courts," 2 Dec. 2020 And Kanye shows a genuine gift for crafting catchy rhythms and melodies that are sometimes (deliberately) repetitive but never boring or stale. Jack Butler, National Review, "Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy at Ten," 28 Nov. 2020 Anthony Martial did pull a goal back just before half-time, but a stale and uninspired second half performance meant United was unable to find an equalizer. Matias Grez And Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Erling Haaland sets Champions League scoring record," 4 Nov. 2020 This technology means that your keg isn’t being pumped full of oxygen to keep it pressurized like in your typical college party keg tap, which keeps your beer tasting fresh rather than stale. Gabrielle Hondorp, Popular Mechanics, "The 5 Best Kegerators For Your Home Bar," 23 Oct. 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 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 Democrats, meanwhile, say there has been no fresh outreach to them after talks about attaching something to the government spending package stale mated. Tal Kopan, CNN, "White House seeks to rekindle immigration debate on Hill," 10 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stale

Time Traveler for stale

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for stale

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stale.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stale. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stale

stale

adjective
How to pronounce stale (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on stale

What made you want to look up stale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!