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


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

The move also intensifies the conflict over a range oversight questions between Congress and the Trump administration, which has invoked privilege and through other measures sought to stonewall Democratic lawmakers' investigations. Jeff Stein, Anchorage Daily News, "House Democrats sue Trump administration over president’s tax returns," 2 July 2019 Our frustration is mounting in the face of the administration’s efforts to stonewall Congress at every turn. Byron Tau, WSJ, "Hope Hicks Refuses to Answer Questions on Time in White House," 19 June 2019 That October, Solis recorded a meeting at City Hall when Burke allegedly expressed his displeasure over the way the developers continued to stonewall him. John Byrne,, "Chicago alderman wants investigation of former Ald. Daniel Solis' licensing, permitting decisions," 12 June 2019 Congress is essentially arguing that the executive branch is stonewalling and getting in the way of their ability to conduct their constitutionally obligated oversight. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "The House just voted to hold AG William Barr in contempt of Congress," 11 June 2019 As the most visible manifestation of an otherwise stonewalling government, the rank and file bear the brunt of protesters’ rage against the authorities. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Suspected 'Triad' Gangs Mark Dangerous New Phase in Hong Kong's Crisis," 23 July 2019 Republicans shamelessly stonewalled Democrats on key records requests, providing only a fraction of documents from Kavanaugh’s White House tenure to the public or the Judiciary Committee members before his hearing. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Please Don’t Blow the Mueller Hearings," 23 July 2019 The media-Democrat complex has helped her stonewall the investigative diligence of journalists David Steinberg, Preya Samsundar, and Scott Johnson. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "No One Really Wants to ‘Send Her Back’," 20 July 2019 And Castro also suggested the deepening schism will stonewall legislation, especially measures related to funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE. CBS News, "Joaquin Castro: ICE raids represent Trump's second "family separation" policy," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Villneuve explained that the stone walls that were exposed to flames then saturated with water by firefighters could now dry out rapidly, causing the vaulted ceilings to become unstable and collapse. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "European heatwave breaks record in Paris as Britain anticipates hottest temps ever," 25 July 2019 Don't forget to look miles of dry stone walls; the ancient technique (and art) of stacking stones in Italy and other European nations was recently inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Margarita Gokun Silver, National Geographic, "Hobbit homes in Italy? Not quite, but just as charming," 10 July 2019 Landmarks: The community library, opened in 1993, occupies the site of Scripps’ daughter’s 1930s home and part of the estate’s stone wall remains. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scripps Ranch: Family-friendly spot set in an imported eucalyptus forest," 30 June 2019 Thick stone walls hem lush citrus fields, and sunlight filters through swaying California pepper trees. Alex Schechter, Vogue, "Forget Poppies, Ojai’s Pixie Season Is the California Nature Event to Know," 10 Apr. 2019 This great stone wall stretched 73 miles from coast to coast across the narrowest part of northern England, where Britannia stopped and the barbarian land that would someday be Scotland began. Rick Stevestribune Content Agency, The Seattle Times, "In Europe’s border walls, a divided history and a united future," 11 Sep. 2018 Any move to impeach Trump for alleged obstruction of justice during the Russia probe certainly would hit a stone wall in the Senate. Dahleen Glanton,, "Column: Donald Trump could pose the greatest threat to America. But his enabler, Mitch McConnell, is a close second.," 11 July 2019 Look for the stone walls, iron gates and signage at the entrance. Don’t attempt to turn left into the resort (too dangerous); instead, continue to the Zephyr Cove Resort and turn around at the traffic light. Allen Pierleoni, The Mercury News, "8 spectacular Lake Tahoe beaches for maximum frolic," 30 June 2019 Outside the towering stone walls, tourists snap selfies and rummage through souvenir tea towels. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "Why Leonardo da Vinci’s brilliance endures, 500 years after his death," 12 June 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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Last Updated

12 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for stonewall

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

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More Definitions for stonewall



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

Comments on stonewall

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


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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