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)

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Moran has an unusual opportunity to stonewall Harvard., "In Harvard development standoff, state Representative Mike Moran may have the upper hand," 26 Mar. 2021 It wasn't regularly used until the mid-19th century, when pro-slavery senators used the tactic to stonewall debate over the limiting or abolition of slavery. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "What is the filibuster? A look at the Senate’s consequential quirk and debate on its future," 20 Mar. 2021 Manchin's colleagues, including California Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla, implied that support for the filibuster might fade if Republicans use it to stonewall liberal objectives. Jake Dima, Washington Examiner, "Manchin open to make filibuster more 'painful,' reiterating support for the process," 7 Mar. 2021 One trigger for additional steps would be if Russia continues to stonewall an investigation into Navalny’s poisoning, one person said. Jennifer Jacobs, Fortune, "Investors dump Russian bonds as U.S. and U.K. mull tough new sanctions in fallout of Navalny ordeal," 5 Mar. 2021 Oregon State’s defense didn’t exactly stonewall Utah, as the Utes shot 54% from the floor. oregonlive, "Surging Oregon State accomplishing things few thought possible because ‘our guys never stopped believing’," 3 Mar. 2021 The revelations shed unflattering light on Cuomo’s decision to cherry-pick data and stonewall the advocates and journalists who had been seeking transparency for months. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, "Andrew Cuomo’s Covid-19 nursing home fiasco shows the ethical perils of pandemic policymaking," 27 Feb. 2021 The decision was a major loss for the Trump administration, which has sought to stonewall subpoenas issued by Congress since Democrats assumed control of the House in 2019. Hailey Fuchs, New York Times, "House Can Sue to Force Testimony From McGahn, Appeals Court Rules," 7 Aug. 2020 But that doesn’t mean if Bam wants his now that the Heat will stonewall. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Does win total matter for Heat in seeding games?," 1 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Interviewing him was like talking to a stone wall of placidity that was overgrown with verbiage. Justin Davidson, Vulture, "On the Talented, Monstrous James Levine," 17 Mar. 2021 Democrats fully recognize the measures will run into a Republican stone wall, but that is the point. Carl Hulse, New York Times, "After Stimulus Victory in Senate, Reality Sinks in: Bipartisanship Is Dead," 6 Mar. 2021 The woodsy walk along a stone wall leads inevitably to ‶Mending Wall,″ the bridge across a small stream to ‶Hyla Brook″ where the family used to picnic in a brookside glade. David Lyon,, "Three walks with poets through their favorite landscapes," 28 Jan. 2021 Espino, proprietor of The Barber Life, stopped to add his cousin’s name to the stone wall. Darcel Rockett,, "Volunteers create Black Lives Matter memorial under the Red Line in Rogers Park with the names of people killed by police," 30 Dec. 2020 Besides its large oven, a stack of three Miele ovens is built into one stone wall. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "$3M White Lake glass house is a window on the world," 27 Dec. 2020 Around it, the grounds are relaxed and slightly farm-like — slate patio, gravel picnic spot, stone wall, overhead pergola. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Location of lavish $2.2M Birmingham home is a big selling point," 19 Dec. 2020 The 2005 Nissan Murano struck the curb, went over a stone wall and into a stone bench before striking the bronze statue of the soldier kneeling beside another sculpture of a rifle and boots, the iconic symbol of a dead warrior. Jesse Leavenworth,, "Female combat soldier statue toppled by drunk driver, police say," 1 Dec. 2020 The board of the historic Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock is raising money to repair a stone wall around the premises after a car crashed into it earlier this week, destroying a 20-foot stretch. Lara Farrar, Arkansas Online, "Panel seeks to repair damaged wall at historic Little Rock cemetery," 28 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stonewall

Time Traveler for stonewall

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about stonewall

Statistics for stonewall

Last Updated

4 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stonewall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!