stumbling block

stum·​bling block | \ ˈstəm-bliŋ- \

Definition of stumbling block

1 : an obstacle to progress
2 : an impediment to belief or understanding : perplexity

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Examples of stumbling block in a Sentence

Lack of funds is a major stumbling block to the project. My plans hit a stumbling block.

Recent Examples on the Web

The issue of bishop nominations had been the main stumbling block to restoring diplomatic relations that were severed nearly seven decades ago when the Chinese communists came to power. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope acknowledges China bishop deal will cause suffering," 25 Sep. 2018 The main stumbling block in negotiations is that the federal government is using a template that has less generous terms than the Open Skies deal with the EU, according to people familiar with the matter. Christopher Jasper,, "Virgin Atlantic Says Brexit No Threat to U.S.-U.K. ‘Open Skies’," 8 Mar. 2018 As someone who tries to keep a clean house, the boxes are a literal stumbling block. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "Why is it so hard to get rid of cardboard boxes?," 6 Dec. 2018 But there are plenty of harder milestones ahead, ones that proved to be stumbling blocks for other warplanes such as the F-22 Raptor. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "New U.S. Secret Bomber Program Passes Critical Design Review," 6 Dec. 2018 At the same time, the federal judiciary, especially the Ninth Circuit, has been the single biggest stumbling block for Trump’s agenda. Dara Lind, Vox, "John Roberts is mad at Trump for attacking an “Obama judge”," 21 Nov. 2018 One stumbling block was that embracing my child's identity meant changing my language. Debra Malina,, "Getting over the angst in calling my transgender child 'they'," 10 July 2018 But its efforts hit a stumbling block last year when two biosimilar makers, Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics Co. and Samsung Bioepis, successfully challenged AbbVie in England’s High Court. Denise Roland, WSJ, "The Strategies AbbVie Employed to Protect Humira From Copycats," 16 Oct. 2018 However, the lack of detailed information about the internal structure remains a stumbling block. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Italy’s famous dome is cracking, and cosmic rays could help save it," 21 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stumbling block.' 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 stumbling block

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for stumbling block

The first known use of stumbling block was in 1588

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More Definitions for stumbling block

stumbling block


English Language Learners Definition of stumbling block

: something that stops you from doing what you want to do

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More from Merriam-Webster on stumbling block

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stumbling block

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stumbling block

Spanish Central: Translation of stumbling block

Comments on stumbling block

What made you want to look up stumbling block? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

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