stumbling block

stum·​bling block | \ ˈstəm-bliŋ- How to pronounce stumbling block (audio) \

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

But finding agreement about how, and what to do beyond that, is proving to be a stumbling block. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The fight over fur," 28 Aug. 2019 However, the player's wages are proving a stumbling block as Nuno and the Wanderers hierarchy look to finalise a deal, with the club unable to sign new recruits after 5pm., "Wolves Facing Uphill Battle to Sign Franck Kessie From AC Milan Despite Agreeing Fee," 8 Aug. 2019 Some 16 months after Mr Ross ordered the Census Bureau to add the question, how could the government provide the courts with a new rationale that avoids this stumbling block? S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Trump administration scrambles to add citizenship to the census," 9 July 2019 As such, the lack of safety for WHO and local health ministry staff has proved a stumbling block to widespread screening and vaccination as well as tracking possible contacts and cases—all crucial elements of controlling an Ebola outbreak. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "DR Congo’s Ebola outbreak cases have doubled in just two months crossing the 2,000-mark," 5 June 2019 The biggest stumbling block was the purchase price. Gary Miller, The Denver Post, "Gary Miller: Know when to walk away from a deal," 25 Aug. 2019 But the biggest stumbling block is Elliott isn’t the only talented young player operating on a cheap rookie contract the Cowboys hope to keep long-term. Nick Talbot,, "Writers’ Roundtable: Can Derrick White live up to his Team USA hype for the Spurs?," 10 Aug. 2019 Bannon was overwhelmed and embarrassed by her financial muddle — but her biggest stumbling block? Susan Moeller,, "The 7 stupidest things we do with money," 13 June 2019 But perhaps the greatest stumbling block in Dr. John’s career has been the fact that his all-embracing music cannot be easily categorized. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Dr. John, dead at 77: Revisit our 2017 & 1989 interviews with Rock Hall of Famer," 7 June 2019

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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Statistics for stumbling block

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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