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 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 Quick hits Mark Glowinski turned in an impressive day in one-on-one pass blocking, stonewalling Tyquan Lewis and Denico Autry in the same day, a feat that is not easy. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Colts camp observations: Deon Cain, Reece Fountain add to intense receiver competition," 10 Aug. 2019 But according to the newspaper, Smith frequently stonewalled reporters., "Malheur County asks sheriff to investigate local newspaper for contacting public officials," 20 Aug. 2019 Running out the clock, refusing to participate, stonewalling: the Trump playbook worked. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "“Accountability”? The Mueller Hearing Is How Trump Escapes It," 24 July 2019 In a separate subplot drawn from real-life controversy, a friend of Chris’s tries to gain access to her dead daughter’s social media account (a clear Facebook stand-in), only to be stonewalled by the corporation’s policies. Aja Romano, Vox, "“Smithereens” takes aim at the tech dystopia we already live in but has nothing new to say.," 5 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 New Canaan sits at the end of a commuter-rail branch, latticed by stone walls and woods, fortified by strict zoning. Sarah Schweitzer, The Atlantic, "The Lunch Ladies of New Canaan," 15 Aug. 2019 The project required extensive masonry work to build the stone walls, chimneys and columns on the clubhouse and new homes. Anchorage Daily News, "How a Trump construction crew has relied on immigrants without legal status," 9 Aug. 2019 The bike trip stuck to the southeast corner of the island, spending a good bit of time in an area known as Val di Noto, brimming with olive groves, citrus fields and farmland dotted with stubby stone walls and giant rolls of golden hay. Lori Rackl,, "The honeymoon’s not over: A return to Sicily uncovers new reasons to fall in love with this alluring island," 8 July 2019 Set out from the chapel of Agia Marina, following a trail past ancient stone walls and olive groves to the rocky summit. National Geographic, "Greek Islands Adventure," 12 June 2019 Outside, more than a half-acre of park-like grounds hold arroyo stone walls, rose gardens and a producing vineyard. Neal J. Leitereg,, "Home of the Week: An ode to New England’s Shingle style," 8 June 2019 The Frenchmen succeeded; their siege tower got through, slamming against the stone wall of Jerusalem to bring them face to face with an enemy who had traded arrow volleys with them for the last five weeks. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archeologists confirm near-legendary tale of crusaders’ siege of Jerusalem," 24 July 2019 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

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

9 Sep 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).


to make a temporary encampment

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