sty·​mie | \ˈstī-mē \
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

Due to the complex nature of international law, and that many migratory birds often cross international borders, these laws were put in place to stymie over-hunting. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Black vultures are eating cows alive. But it's difficult to legally kill the birds.," 13 July 2018 With the Lakers, James will be playing in the Western Conference for the first time and just down the Pacific Coast Highway from the Warriors, the team that has stymied him three times in the past four finals. Tom Withersap, Anchorage Daily News, "LA-Bron: James agrees to 4-year contract with Lakers," 2 July 2018 Whether talking to a friend, texting with a family member, or emailing and chatting with coworkers, a word pops up that simply stymies. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "By defining “l33t” and “Thanks Obama,” became the Web’s reference," 1 July 2018 With the Lakers, James will be playing in the Western Conference for the first time and just down the Pacific Coast Highway from the Warriors, the team that has stymied him three times in the past four finals. Tom Withers,, "LeBron James agrees to 4-year, $154 million contract with Los Angeles Lakers," 1 July 2018 Raymond Charles Rowe, 49, is being held without bail in the killing of 25-year-old Christy Mirack at her home in a crime that had stymied investigators until genealogical research led them to the man known professionally as DJ Freez. Washington Post, "DJ charged in teacher’s ‘92 killing a regular at kid events," 27 June 2018 British drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals studied the drug in more than 500 children and adults with hard-to-treat seizures, overcoming numerous legal hurdles that have long stymied research into cannabis., "FDA approves first prescription drug made from marijuana," 26 June 2018 And there is nothing in this question about special counsel Robert Mueller or the presumption that Whitaker was brought in to stymie his investigation. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head," 15 Nov. 2018 The legal fight over Mr. Whitaker could also stymie the Trump administration’s effort to speed up deportations by increasing the number of immigration judges, Mr. Guttentag said. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Maryland Files Challenge to Matthew Whitaker’s Installation as Acting Attorney General," 13 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.

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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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Statistics for stymie

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stymie

The first known use of stymie was in 1902

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More Definitions for stymie



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

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

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living or existing for a long time

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