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 Airlines have had to repeatedly adjust their schedules as the plane's return has been stymied by a host of factors. Dawn Gilbertson, USA TODAY, "American Airlines won't fly 737 Max again until June at the earliest, even if it's cleared sooner," 14 Jan. 2020 The press had grown accustomed to demeaning all Trump nominees, but was stymied by Mr. Barr’s impressive... Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "2019’s Adult of the Year," 2 Jan. 2020 Scientists are mobilizing an all-female army to help stymie schistosomiasis, a sometimes deadly parasitic disease that affects millions of people every year. Jillian Kramer, Scientific American, "Single-Sex Prawns Could Aid Fight against Snail-Borne Disease," 10 Dec. 2019 Those plans are now on hold, stymied by an administration change and purported technical challenges. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Why Harriet Tubman risked it all for enslaved Americans," 18 Oct. 2019 But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, "Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine testifies Trump removed her based on ‘false claims’," 11 Oct. 2019 Bobby McFerrin, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ George H.W. Bush’s attempts to get the country to stop worrying and be happy in 1988 were stymied by the song’s writer, Bobby McFerrin, who objected to Bush’s use of the song. Alex Heigl,, "The Many, Many Musicians Who Have Told Politicians to Stop Using Their Songs," 11 Oct. 2019 Similar proposals in the United Kingdom are currently in a consultation phase, though their passage may by stymied by ongoing political turmoil over Brexit and a potential election within the next year. James Griffiths, CNN, "Singapore 'fake news' law comes into force, offenders face fines and prison time," 2 Oct. 2019 Talks between the prime minister and labor leaders failed to reach a compromise on Thursday — day 15 of nationwide strikes by train drivers and other workers that have stymied tourists and commuters alike. Washington Post, "French unions: Keep retirement strikes going through January," 19 Dec. 2019

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

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stymie.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 24 January 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on stymie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stymie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stymie

Spanish Central: Translation of stymie

Nglish: Translation of stymie for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stymie for Arabic Speakers

Comments on stymie

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


a feeling of well-being or elation

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