stone·​wall | \ˈstōn-ˌwȯl \
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

Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, is being stonewalled on at least three inquiries. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "The Real Constitutional Crisis," 24 May 2018 The highlight of its draw with mighty Argentina was Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson stonewalling Lionel Messi on a penalty kick. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Top 10 World Cup moments: Heroics from Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Hirving Lozano," 29 June 2018 Jen Devona and Ashley Rocco scored for the Fillies (19-3-2), and senior goalkeeper Sam Schmitz made 14 saves to stonewall the North Stars. Rich Mayor,, "Barrington girls soccer ready to contend again at 3A state tournament," 31 May 2018 Each motion was rejected by the committee on a party-line basis -- except for one: To hold former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for stonewalling the panel. Jeremy Herb And Manu Raju, CNN, "War between Trump and FBI puts Gowdy in delicate spot," 30 May 2018 Moscow accuses Britain of failing to provide any evidence and stonewalling Russian requests for information. Jill Lawless, USA TODAY, "Yulia Skripal says nerve agent recovery slow and painful," 23 May 2018 Moscow accuses Britain of failing to provide any evidence and stonewalling Russian requests for information. Fox News, "Yulia Skripal says nerve agent recovery slow and painful," 23 May 2018 Moscow accuses Britain of failing to provide any evidence and stonewalling Russian requests for information. Jill Lawless,, "Yulia Skripal, poisoned by nerve agent in U.K., says recovery is slow and painful," 23 May 2018 Moscow has vehemently denied the claim and criticized Britain for failing to provide any evidence and stonewalling Russian requests for information. Washington Post, "Poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal discharged from UK hospital," 18 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Surrounded by beautiful stone walls, the tomato plants sit cloistered in four quadrants framed by low hedges, roses, and apple trees. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "How a French Prince Is Saving the World From Tasteless Tomatoes," 17 Sep. 2018 Inside, the stone walls play off of wood ceilings and floors, giving the space the dark, cozy vibe of an ancient fortress that was rediscovered and filled with modern fixtures and furniture. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Surprisingly cozy stone house marries old and new," 1 Aug. 2018 But the stone walls remained standing and will be used in the rebuild. Washington Post, "Glacier park to rebuild historical chalet destroyed in fire," 17 May 2018 In fact, the stone walls at the barn are the same shown in Rochambeau's map. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Bolton Heritage Farm Receives Preservation Award," 24 Apr. 2018 One of the most impressive sights is the four miles of stone walls of various shapes and sizes that cross the parcel and travel over hills and ledges. Peter Marteka,, "A Swath Of Land Helping To Preserve 1,000 Acres In Southeastern Connecticut," 1 Apr. 2018 Photo: Ben Mostyn for The Wall Street Journal To complicate matters, many of these roads are lined with rich greenery that deceptively hides car-hostile drainage ditches or stone walls. Peter Saenger, WSJ, "A Driving Tour of Devon, England—on Perilously Narrow Roads," 30 Oct. 2018 Inkaterra La Casona, Cusco, Peru Cusco’s architectural heritage of Incan stone walls topped with colonial white stucco is echoed in this 16th-century building on a square steps from the main plaza. Betsy Blumenthal, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Hotels in the World: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 The home’s entrance is at the rear, surrounded by white stone walls that hint at what’s to come inside. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "All-white concrete house is beautifully high-maintenance," 7 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for stonewall

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

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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 ( chiefly US )

More from Merriam-Webster on stonewall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stonewall Encyclopedia article about stonewall

Comments on stonewall

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living or existing for a long time

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