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stove·​pipe ˈstōv-ˌpīp How to pronounce stovepipe (audio)
: pipe of large diameter usually of sheet steel used as a stove chimney or to connect a stove with a flue
: an isolated and narrow channel of communication
Instead of streamlining Washington's ability to perform, the department clogged it up with new layers of bureaucracy and stovepipes of information.Christopher Cooper and Robert Block
We had 18 intelligence agencies, and they had what was called the famous stovepipes. They wouldn't share with each other, wouldn't talk to each other.Jay Rockefeller


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stovepiped; stovepiping; stovepipes

transitive verb

: to transmit (information) to a higher level in an organization through an isolated and narrow channel of communication
This [Pentagon policy] office, which circumvented the usual procedures of vetting and transparency, stovepiped many of its findings to the highest-ranking officials.Seymour M. Hersh

Examples of stovepipe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
On the way, one of them, a young soldier called Kyivstar—the name of Ukraine’s main telecommunications network—dropped a grenade down the stovepipe. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2024 One of the most notable pieces on display in the 1905 Georgian Revival mansion is President Lincoln’s stovepipe hat. Kira Turnbull, Travel + Leisure, 2 Apr. 2024 Kids can play with White House building blocks or create a Lincoln-esque stovepipe hat, and visitors of all ages can enjoy a performance by the Linton Hall School Fife and Drum Corps or dance to music from DJ Farrah Flosscett. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 By keeping the fire stoked, the stove and stovepipe were soon glowing orange-hot, and my gear slowly steamed dry while my body finally shook off the chill of a wet, cool fall day. Brett French, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 At a macro level, the changes to the Department focus on mission readiness by eliminating stovepipes to deliver cross-functional and lethal combat capabilities with the speed and agility required to meet the threats identified above. Dave Deptula, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 When Holmes pointed out the enemy in the distance, Lincoln stood up — all six feet four of him with a stovepipe hat on top — to have a look. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 Portable camping stoves have pipe chimneys that poke out of that stovepipe hole and release smoke into the air. Ben Romans, Field & Stream, 4 Jan. 2024 In 1848, Ellen and William Craft, an enslaved couple in Georgia, made a daring escape north disguised as a sickly young white planter and his male slave — Ellen as the wealthy scion in a stovepipe hat, dark green glasses and a sling over her right arm to conceal her illiteracy. The New York Times Books Staff, New York Times, 28 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stovepipe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1784, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1988, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stovepipe was in 1784

Dictionary Entries Near stovepipe

Cite this Entry

“Stovepipe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


stove·​pipe ˈstōv-ˌpīp How to pronounce stovepipe (audio)
: a metal pipe for carrying off smoke from a stove
: a tall silk hat

More from Merriam-Webster on stovepipe

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