sty·​mie | \ ˈstī-mē How to pronounce stymie (audio) \
stymied; stymieing

Definition of stymie

transitive verb

: to present an obstacle to : stand in the way of stymied by red tape

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Did You Know?

Golf was being played in Scotland as early as the 15th century, but it wasn't until the 19th century that the sport really caught on in England and North America. It was also in the 19th century that the word stymie entered English as a noun referring to a golfing situation in which one player's ball lies between another ball and the hole on the putting green, thereby blocking the line of play. Later, stymie came to be used as a verb meaning "to bring into the position of, or impede by, a stymie." By the early 20th century, the verb was being applied in similarly vexing non-golf contexts.

Examples of stymie in a Sentence

Progress on the project has been stymied by lack of money. the raging blizzard stymied the rescuers' attempts to find the stranded mountain climbers
Recent Examples on the Web China has recently tightened its foreign investment rules and has used administrative barriers to stymie foreign firms in key domestic markets. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "EU, China Agree on Terms of Investment Pact Despite U.S. Wariness," 30 Dec. 2020 President Donald Trump hasn't conceded the election but is already discussing a rematch in 2024, a prospect that could entangle President-elect Joe Biden and stymie other Republicans laying the groundwork for their own campaign. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "As he looks to 2024, Trump’s deep pockets mean barbs for Biden and GOP competitors," 6 Dec. 2020 The Panthers used an opportunistic defense to stymie one of the area’s most-talented teams in a 27-13 victory over Red Oak at Mustang-Panther Stadium. Dallas News, "Colleyville Heritage off to its best start in nearly a decade after its defense stymies Red Oak in 27-13 win," 7 Nov. 2020 Though the latest numbers are painting an increasingly bleak picture of the pandemic in California, officials emphasize that everyone — residents and businesses alike — can do their part to help stymie the surge. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "‘Thanksgiving bump’ sends California to record 35,400 coronavirus cases, 219 deaths," 8 Dec. 2020 Denis McDonough, who served as White House chief of staff during the Obama administration and helped oversee the 2017 transition of power, said that even as Trump has tried to stymie the transition, significant progress still has been made. Jonathan Lemire, Star Tribune, "Trump's silent public outing belies White House in tumult," 11 Nov. 2020 Both the city and state are facing massive deficits due to the COVID-19 crisis, and earlier this week New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke in support of a tax increase that could potentially stymie a real estate recovery in the city. Steve Bittenbender, Washington Examiner, "New York property investment, sales plummet during pandemic," 19 Oct. 2020 In an interview with Fox Business on Thursday, the president admitted starving the agency of federal money would stymie efforts to expand mail-in voting. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, "Postal Service changes, coronavirus relief deadlock have lawmakers worried about November," 13 Aug. 2020 The Senate has narrowly approved President Donald Trump's lame-duck nominee to become a member of the Federal Communications Commission, setting up the agency for a stretch of partisan gridlock likely to stymie President-elect Joe Biden's policies. Marcy Gordon, Star Tribune, "Senate OKs Trump pick for FCC, adding hurdle to Biden plans," 8 Dec. 2020

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

1902, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for stymie

Scots stimie, stymie to obstruct a golf shot by interposition of the opponent's ball

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Time Traveler for stymie

Time Traveler

The first known use of stymie was in 1902

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Statistics for stymie

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stymie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stymie


How to pronounce stymie (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stymie

: to stop (someone) from doing something or to stop (something) from happening

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