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)

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 His fight is in line with Mr. Trump’s directive to stonewall the inquiry. New York Times, 15 Dec. 2021 Democratic members of the board had chafed at McWilliams’s leadership in recent weeks, accusing her of using procedural tactics to stonewall their efforts to review the board’s bank merger approval process. Washington Post, 1 Jan. 2022 If Clark continues to stonewall the committee and invoke the Fifth Amendment in ways the committee deems illegitimate, the panel will proceed with a floor vote. Zachary Cohen, CNN, 9 Dec. 2021 Trump has ordered Bannon and other former associates to stonewall on the grounds that all of his conversations with them are protected by executive privilege. Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2021 Bernier said everyone needs to comply with their requests or others will stonewall them in the future. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Oct. 2021 But Biden was right on the merits; without the threat of prosecution, Bannon and others will continue to stonewall. Los Angeles Times, 24 Oct. 2021 Provincial politicians, who are responsible for healthcare, regularly stonewall journalists, activists, and healthcare providers with questions about why access is so poor, with the premier blocking advocates on Twitter. Sarah Ratchford,, 8 Oct. 2021 Civil discovery gives litigants the tools to compel production of evidence, backed by the threat of sanctions or even default judgment, so Beijing would be unable to stonewall. Mike Pompeo And David B. Rivkin Jr., WSJ, 26 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun During the dig, researchers spotted the man’s legs jutting out from the base of an 85-foot-tall lava stone wall. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2021 It had been stashed in the crevice of a stone wall under some ivy, inside a black, waterproof bag. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2021 The silhouette of Saint-Paul de Vence, its stone wall wrapping around the centuries-old buildings clustered above it, glistened in the distance under the midmorning sun. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 High ceilings continue in the open-plan great room, which has a fireplace set in a stone wall. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 The inner courtyard has a Japanese maple and camellias, and a picturesque patio opens onto a paved courtyard with stairs along a high stone wall leading up to a terrace. Alison Gregor, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2021 The winning submissions of the miniature dry stone wall building contest in Ireland. Los Angeles Times, 2 Oct. 2021 The west side is dotted with mausoleums and abstract stone sculptures, while the eastern side is bordered by a two-story stone wall. Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2021 It is bordered by a sidewalk, a stone wall and a rhododendron that is doing quite well. oregonlive, 15 Aug. 2021

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

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stone wall

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Last Updated

22 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stonewall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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

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