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 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 So, he's been stonewalling throughout the last year and a half. Fox News, "Kavanaugh denies assault allegations in Fox News interview," 25 Sep. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And two stone walls hold rustic arched doors with glass panes. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "House Envy: Winding road, French touches give Hartland mansion its charm," 3 Feb. 2018 The architects built the home’s stone walls from a metal framework, giving the house current-day structural stability paired with an old-world look. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Surprisingly cozy stone house marries old and new," 1 Aug. 2018 Situated on 17 private acres, the entire home exudes a certain rustic charm, with doorways encased by aged wood beams, old-fashioned kitchen appliances, high-pitched ceilings, and exposed stone walls that seemingly tell the tales of time. Rori Kotch, Country Living, "This Farmhouse in the Welsh Countryside Looks Like It's Straight Out of a Storybook," 21 July 2015 In 1913, in the countryside east of the town, the German army built a camp consisting of two barracks inside a high stone wall. Daniel Ford, WSJ, "‘The Escape Artists’ Review: Keep Calm and Keep Shoveling," 27 Sep. 2018 The interior had buff stone walls, red tile floors, and dark wood beams. William Middleton, Town & Country, "How the De Menil Family Raised Good Taste to an Art Form," 7 Mar. 2018 Clear a field by making a big windrow, push the windrow into the corner of a stone wall and then blast the whole shebang up and over. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "We Test the Very Best Leaf Blowers You Can Buy," 5 Nov. 2018 That evening the two moms will pack up their Yukon with their six children and leave hurriedly, knocking over their stone wall in the process. Glamour, "Broken Harts, Episode 4: ‘My God, There’s Six of Them’," 31 Dec. 2018 Village compounds line the roads, their high stone walls enclosing ancestral temples (typically at least three generations live together). Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "Finding the Bali You Came For," 16 Nov. 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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Last Updated

25 Mar 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 boil down or concentrate

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