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

transitive verb

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

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 Access to jobs and housing can be stymied for people with less than stellar credit. Deb Gordon, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 The government’s sporadic but incessant updating of agency rules and procedures have done little to stymie routine abuses of the 702 data—which is currently fathomless. WIRED, 7 Nov. 2023 One attempt by Card to add to his arsenal was stymied. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 Other factors stymied Somershoe and other investigators looking into Brandy’s disappearance. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 27 Oct. 2023 At various times there appeared to be substantial bipartisan support in Congress for making DACA permanent, but standalone efforts have been stymied by other immigration concerns. Michael Smolens, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Nov. 2023 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted both Sweden and Finland to seek NATO membership but the former’s entry had been stymied by Turkey. Gul Tuysuz, CNN, 24 Oct. 2023 The two sides have been stymied over issues like minimum compensation for the use of digital replicas, the scope of consents needed allow digital replicas, and AI training. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 24 Oct. 2023 Even on its own, Hamas’s leadership has had years to prepare for battle across Gaza, including in city streets, where the superiority of tanks and precise munitions can be stymied by guerrilla tactics. Damien Cave, New York Times, 24 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stymie was in 1902


Dictionary Entries Near stymie

Cite this Entry

“Stymie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


sty·​mie ˈstī-mē How to pronounce stymie (audio)
stymied; stymieing
: to present an obstacle to : stand in the way of
an unexpected snowstorm stymied travelers' plans

More from Merriam-Webster on stymie

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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