stale·​mate | \ ˈstāl-ˌmāt How to pronounce stalemate (audio) \

Definition of stalemate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a drawing position in chess in which a player is not in checkmate but has no legal move to play
2 : a drawn contest : deadlock also : the state of being stalemated


stalemated; stalemating; stalemates

Definition of stalemate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to bring into a stalemate

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Examples of stalemate in a Sentence

Noun The budget debate ended in a stalemate. The new agreement could break the stalemate. The budget debate ended in stalemate.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There will be long-term damage caused by the impact of the stalemate. Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Commissioner Rob Manfred has no choice but to mandate 60-game 2020 MLB season," 22 June 2020 The reaction from Arizona's congressional delegation didn't suggest any breakthroughs from the usual partisan stalemate were at hand. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "How the Supreme Court's DACA ruling could affect races for president, Congress in Arizona," 18 June 2020 But reaching a new agreement has been difficult for the four communities, which have reached a stalemate after Glendale requested rent from the other communities. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'The library has been held hostage': The North Shore Library is in need of repairs, but these four communities can't find a solution," 17 June 2020 With the grand total of four hits - all singles - between the two teams in the five-inning game, the squads went home with a 1-1 stalemate. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Diamondbacks, Giants play to 1-1 stalemate in Mustang Division play," 17 June 2020 In three words, Rob Manfred managed to shift public sentiment in baseball’s stalemate. John Fay,, "Fay: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's words could haunt baseball," 16 June 2020 States have jumped into the picture because Congress remains at a stalemate on the issue. Nihal Krishan, Washington Examiner, "States lead the way on business liability protections during pandemic," 11 June 2020 North Korea has suspended virtually all cooperation with South Korea in recent months amid a stalemate in larger nuclear negotiations with Washington. Kim Tong-hyung,, "South Korea to charge defector groups over North leaflets," 10 June 2020 Experts said the agreement, while focused narrowly on the pandemic response, opens a window of hope for tackling Venezuela’s overarching political stalemate, which has left the once-rich oil nation in deepening economic and social crisis. Washington Post, "World Digest: June 3, 2020," 3 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Emergency Board, composed of 13 Democrats and seven Republicans, had stalemated in April over plans to give those same hospitals millions in zero-interest loans. oregonlive, "Oregon lawmakers agree to devote $247 million in federal coronavirus aid to renter relief, rural hospitals, child care and more," 6 June 2020 The diplomacy has been stalemated for months, with North Korea pressing the United States to make concessions by year’s end. Washington Post, "South Korea says North’s recent test was of rocket engine," 10 Dec. 2019 For months, the LNA and the militias have been locked in fierce clashes on Tripoli’s southern outskirts, with the fighting mostly stalemated. Washington Post, "Libyan force attacking Tripoli gives militias 3-day deadline," 20 Dec. 2019 After coming to office vowing to solve two very different nuclear crises, President Trump finds himself in a bind familiar to his predecessors: careening toward a confrontation with Iran and stalemated with North Korea. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Trump Careens Toward a Confrontation With Iran," 17 June 2019 The Trump administration has revived several controversial mining proposals that previously were blocked or stalemated. Matthew Ross, The Conversation, "Mining powers modern life, but can leave scarred lands and polluted waters behind," 3 Oct. 2019 And the talks have been essentially stalemated since on these last two. CBS News, "Transcript: Michael Vickers talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 28 Aug. 2019 After that, the teams stalemated for much of the game. Christian Simmons,, "Cooper, Anderson and Castro each get 3 RBI as Marlins blow out Padres to open home series," 17 July 2019 After that, the teams stalemated until the eighth inning, the Mets finally breaking free in the top of the eighth, when Cano went deep to right field, driving in Dominic Smith and putting the Marlins behind by two runs. Christian Simmons,, "Mets get Cano tape-measure shot in eighth to snap tie, sink Marlins," 14 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stalemate.' 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 stalemate


1765, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1765, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stalemate


obsolete English stale stalemate (from Middle English, from Anglo-French estaler to stalemate, from estal station, position) + English mate entry 1 — more at installment entry 1

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Time Traveler for stalemate

Time Traveler

The first known use of stalemate was in 1765

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Statistics for stalemate

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stalemate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for stalemate


How to pronounce stalemate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stalemate

: a contest, dispute, competition, etc., in which neither side can gain an advantage or win
: a situation in chess in which a player cannot successfully move any of the pieces and neither player can win

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