stone·​wall | \ ˈstōn-ˌwȯl How to pronounce stonewall (audio) \
stonewalled; stonewalling; stonewalls

Definition of stonewall

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 chiefly British : to engage in obstructive parliamentary debate or delaying tactics
2 : to be uncooperative, obstructive, or evasive

transitive verb

: to refuse to comply or cooperate with

stone wall


Definition of stone wall (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a fence made of stones especially : one built of rough stones without mortar to enclose a field
2 : an immovable block or obstruction (as in public affairs)

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Other Words from stonewall


stonewaller noun

Did You Know?

The earliest English stonewalls were literal; they were walls made from stone. Because a stone wall can be difficult to surmount, English speakers began using stonewall figuratively for things or people who either were persistent and enduring or who presented an obstacle as formidable as a stone wall. (Those figurative senses earned American Confederate Civil War General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson his nickname.) Then, in the late 1800s, cricket players began using stonewall as a verb in reference to a batter's defensive blocking of balls. Around the same time, stonewall found its way into political slang as a synonym of filibuster. There is also a chiefly British sense of "to engage in obstructive parliamentary debate or delaying tactics."

Examples of stonewall in a Sentence

Verb They stonewalled until they could come up with a response. They were just stonewalling for time. They're trying to stonewall the media. We're trying to get the information, but we're being stonewalled.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Finland’s Nordea, which is also embroiled in money-rinsing allegations, has stonewalled too, says Bill Browder, an anti-Kremlin campaigner. The Economist, "A massive money-laundering scandal stains the image of Nordic banks," 17 Oct. 2019 Though the White House has stonewalled Democrats in Congress investigating allegations from the special counsel’s report, the president has little similar ability to stymie whistle-blowers from speaking to Congress. Adam Goldman, New York Times, "2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings," 1 Oct. 2019 The White House has largely stonewalled Congress for the first half of this year, since Democrats took control of the House, declining to turn over documents and refusing to allow administration employees to testify in many of the investigations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "What’s next now that Pelosi has launched impeachment inquiry," 26 Sep. 2019 Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share the complaint with Congress and—big surprise—the White House Office of Legal Counsel is also stonewalling. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Promises, Promises—Trump Phones Up the Leader of Ukraine," 22 Sep. 2019 Bobrovsky stonewalled the Lightning and played his way toward this contract by nearly stealing the postseason. Dan Falkenheim,, "Rangers’ Accelerated Rebuild, Aho’s Offer Sheet Highlight First Day of Free Agency," 1 July 2019 Neymar's deal also runs out in three years, but Paris Saint-Germain's relationship with Real Madrid, as well as Mbappé's lower commercial value worldwide, could see talks with Barcelona stonewalled altogether., "Report: Real Madrid Makes Kylian Mbappe Its Top Transfer Target for Next Summer," 7 Sep. 2019 July 3, 201906:45 That New York legislation, signed into law this month, allows for Neal to make a request for the president's state tax returns should he be stonewalled by the Treasury Department. Allan Smith, NBC News, "Rep. Neal's refusal to get Trump state tax returns emerges as re-election issue," 27 July 2019 The ultimate game is to imbue in society a collective sense of hopelessness [by] stonewalling the protests. Washington Post, "With Hong Kong in turmoil, questions grow over leader’s refusal to offer concessions to protesters," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And will Pelosi's unilateral pronouncement - which was delivered with no immediate plans to ratify it with a House vote - do anything to change the course of existing investigations that have hit a stone wall of White House resistance? Author: Mike Debonis, Rachael Bade, Anchorage Daily News, "House’s move toward impeachment leaves major questions about the road ahead," 25 Sep. 2019 About the attempts at reconciliation from CU officials rebuffed, decade after decade, by Air Force administrators, by Academy lifers, about the stone wall of silence that never moved. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Why renewal of CU Buffs-Air Force football game “should’ve been done a long time ago”," 13 Sep. 2019 With stone walls and tables set beneath high ceilings with exposed beams, the lovely, intimate space has a truly cozy feel. Carrie Hutchinson, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Venues & Places for Live Music in Melbourne," 10 Sep. 2018 Sanzo was building a stone wall at the Westchester County home of former New York Knicks basketball coach Rick Pitino when Trump stopped by to talk to him one day, Sanzo described in an interview last month at his home in Yonkers, New York. Anchorage Daily News, "How a Trump construction crew has relied on immigrants without legal status," 9 Aug. 2019 Designer Alexander Dodge sets the tale within receding stone walls open upstage to the view of distant mountains. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "A fairy-tale world premiere and Janácek's brutal but redemptive 'Jenufa' impress at Santa Fe Opera," 6 Aug. 2019 The trail passes an old stone wall that showcases the area’s pastoral past. Peter Marteka,, "Swallowed up by the natural world near the bustling UConn campus," 26 July 2019 How many Instagram photos feature a whitewashed stone wall with bunches of scarlet tomatoes pulled from the ground, plant and all, and hung upside down, or cherry tomatoes carefully threaded and hung as garlands? Evan Kleiman,, "Sun-dried tomatoes, the Mickey Rourke of food, get their second act," 10 July 2019 Laborers lay grass sod, construct stone walls, and assemble the fanciful faux-stone sculptures favored by many of these suburbanites. Wired, "The Suburbanites Making the Desert Bloom with McMansions," 12 Sep. 2019

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


1880, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for stonewall

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The first known use of stonewall was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

18 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Stonewall.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for stonewall


How to pronounce stone wall (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stonewall

: to refuse or fail to answer questions, to do what has been requested, etc., especially in order to delay or prevent something

More from Merriam-Webster on stonewall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stonewall Encyclopedia article about stonewall

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