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 That's because the Cincinnati defense stonewalled the Eagles (6-7), who were without their most productive star because running back AJ Dillon opted to skip the game to begin prep for the NFL Draft. Fletcher Page,, "Desmond Ridder stars, UC football crushes Boston College for Birmingham Bowl victory," 2 Jan. 2020 Building toward this moment, the president has repeatedly been stonewalling requests for documents and witness interviews in the variety of ongoing investigations. Michael Balsamo, Twin Cities, "Nancy Pelosi orders impeachment probe: ‘No one is above the law’," 24 Sep. 2019 Building toward this moment, the president has repeatedly been stonewalling requests for documents and witness interviews in the variety of ongoing investigations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pelosi orders impeachment probe: ‘No one is above the law’," 24 Sep. 2019 The president has all but dared Democrats to open impeachment proceedings, repeatedly stonewalling requests for documents and witness interviews in a variety of ongoing investigations. Lisa Mascaro, Fortune, "Pelosi Expected to Announce Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump," 24 Sep. 2019 Building toward this moment, the president has repeatedly been stonewalling requests for documents and witness interviews in the variety of ongoing investigations. Michael Balsamo, The Denver Post, "Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry into Trump," 24 Sep. 2019 Among other initiatives, the state GOP has continued to stonewall on Medicaid expansion, despite the existence of nearly a million uninsured citizens. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Decade When Republicans Stole the States," 24 Dec. 2019 Houston teamed with Walker on another fourth-down stop in the fourth quarter, stonewalling Panthers quarterback Will Grier on a sneak. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Justin Houston has been every bit the free agent prize Colts needed him to be," 24 Dec. 2019 The 300-page report from Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee makes the case that Trump misused the power of his office and, in the course of the investigation, obstructed Congress by stonewalling the proceedings. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: How California could lose a stick on building housing," 4 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And anyone who knows about the stone walls that for centuries have been an iconic part of the landscape of New England, once spanning 250,000 miles, would never misidentify him., "He’s one of a small number of Americans who have earned the master craftsman certification from the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, a singular distinction. His work has been featured in publications across America.," 11 Dec. 2019 Frozen ground won’t stop you from amassing materials for fence and trellis projects, or gathering the wooden planks for raised growing beds, or stone for modest stone walls, all of which can be stockpiled for assembly later. Washington Post, "The winter garden is full of promise and productivity. Don’t let it go to waste.," 20 Nov. 2019 The biggest, found near the town of Hana on Maui, covers nearly three acres, including a giant stone platform with volcanic stone walls. Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "10 great ancient ruins that track the heavens, from Woodhenge to Chichen Itza," 25 June 2019 Erhard Rom’s set awkwardly stacks the three trenches on top of each other, as if the war is happening in an open-sided office building with neat stone walls. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "The Glimmerglass Festival and ‘A Quiet Place’ Reviews," 13 Aug. 2018 Wrapped in solid stone walls that are 2 feet thick, the space features beamed ceilings, flagstone floors and a vintage fireplace. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Tom Petty’s scenic lake house sells for $4 million," 20 Sep. 2019 OSU’s defense isn’t anybody’s idea of a stone wall either, but the Beavers have been better defensively this season than last. oregonlive, "OSU Beavers need to beat a vulnerable Arizona team to have realistic postseason hopes: Issues & Answers," 31 Oct. 2019 The work is a meditative visual poem about the passage of time set against a stone wall carved with sea lily fossils. Los Angeles Times, "12 dance performances to see in L.A. this fall," 12 Sep. 2019 The orange Union City Department of Public Works truck flipped over a stone wall and landed upside down on an embankment on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. Fox News, "New Jersey truck accident snarls holiday eve traffic out of NYC," 4 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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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

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stonewall.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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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

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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