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

Democrats immediately countered that the immunity assertion was made up, accusing the White House of trying to stonewall their investigations., "White House bars former Trump aide from answering questions about her work," 19 June 2019 Democrats say the larger issue is that the White House is almost completely rejecting congressional oversight – stonewalling requests for documents and blocking witnesses from testifying on various subjects. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Trump asserts executive privilege to shield Census documents," 12 June 2019 Democrats say the larger issue is that the White House is almost completely rejecting congressional oversight – stonewalling requests for documents and blocking witnesses from testifying on various subjects. John Wagner, The Denver Post, "Trump asserts executive privilege to shield documents on Census citizenship question," 12 June 2019 In the game’s waning moments, Dubnyk extended his leg to stonewall Stastny with his pad to preserve the win for the Wild. W.g. Ramirez, The Seattle Times, "Wild defeat Golden Knights 3-2, stay in playoff hunt," 29 Mar. 2019 These are among documents congressional Republicans have been fighting to obtain for more than a year, only to be stonewalled by the Justice Department. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Checking Robert Mueller," 13 Dec. 2018 The opposite may be true if the courts and the office of the special counsel are stonewalled by Trump and aren’t allowed to do their job. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "The Supreme Court Will Make Trump Talk to Mueller If It Has To," 3 May 2018 Flake’s stonewalling could definitely make things a bit more complicated. Li Zhou, Vox, "Jeff Flake says he’ll block judicial nominees until Mueller protection bill gets a vote," 15 Nov. 2018 The committee can’t do an investigation if attorneys are stonewalling. Alvin Chang, Vox, "Every time Ford and Kavanaugh answered the question — and didn't answer the question," 28 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Day after day, night after night, the great swinging arms of the siege machinery outside the walls would pound the stone walls of the castle. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 The royals also did some hiking on trails in the beautiful countryside, helped the Brown family tend to their flock and joined in to help repair a dry stone wall on the farm. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Will & Kate visit farm country, try their hands at shearing squirming sheep," 11 June 2019 Trump’s name was scraped from a stone wall in front of the tower, which is now the JW Marriott Panama. Heather Vogell, ProPublica, "Trump Companies Accused of Tax Evasion in Panama," 3 June 2019 The films, offering an inside look at prison life, will be screened directly onto the old stone walls of Eastern State. Stephan Salisbury,, "N.C. Wyeth, Penn Museum’s moving sphinx, Gee’s Bend quilters, and more museum highlights," 5 June 2019 For exterior stone walls, keeping them in good repair will ensure the beauty and elegance of your home’s landscaping. Ap Mcclatchy, The Mercury News, "Angie’s List: How to improve your curb appeal," 3 June 2019 The Miramar’s main building, the Manor House, has the feel of a classic estate, with white stone walls, leaded windows, and a black roof. Candace Jackson, Town & Country, "The Rosewood Miramar Beach Is Montecito's Newest Luxury Hotel—and Private Club For Those Who Want the Real Perks," 27 Apr. 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

1 Jul 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

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to complain fretfully

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