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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Rescuers in the park's helicopter took advantage Thursday morning of a break in bad weather that had stymied earlier attempts to reach the climbers. CBS News, "Helicopter rescues 4 climbers who were stranded near Mount Rainier summit for days," 6 June 2019 Those structures stymie evolution by denying advantageous mutations any chance to take over a population. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 July 2018 The momentary pause on Heathrow's runways comes just a few weeks after a mysterious drone sighting stymied all air traffic at Gatwick Airport during the height of holiday travel for roughly 36 hours. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Another Drone Sighting Shuts Down the UK's Busiest Airport," 8 Jan. 2019 The letter also names a PBS Newshour reporter whose story about political advertisements was completely stymied for fear of penalty. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s problems in Europe are piling up," 21 Sep. 2018 The Senate prepared Thursday to vote on two rival efforts to end the partial government shutdown, but the flurry of action wasn’t expected to immediately resolve the impasse that has stymied Washington for weeks. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "Senate Prepares Votes on Measures to End Shutdown," 24 Jan. 2019 Some of the challenges that stymie high school teachers about their students have been around for generations., "Students check their devices at the cellphone hotel," 1 June 2018 But those political realities that stymied Republicans in 2017 are still the same — and if anything, the terrain looks even more difficult now. Dylan Scott, Vox, "6 reasons Obamacare repeal (probably) isn’t coming back in 2018," 30 Apr. 2018 And this means of stymying the Mueller investigation would be of lower salience than actually firing him while producing some similar benefits. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Matt Whitaker suggested the attorney general might keep Robert Mueller’s conclusions secret forever," 7 Nov. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about stymie

Listen to Our Podcast about stymie

Dictionary Entries near stymie








Statistics for stymie

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stymie

The first known use of stymie was in 1902

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for stymie



English Language Learners Definition of stymie

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on stymie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stymie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


standardized text or formulaic language

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!