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

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 Cypress stymied Fountain Valley the next inning, and Vance called on James Lusignan for the save. Sam Dodge,, "Fountain Valley PONY edges Cypress to reach regional semifinals," 30 June 2018 Verlander began and ended his month by stymieing the Yankees, striking out 20 in 14 ⅔ innings of eight-hit, one-run baseball against the only lineup in baseball with an OPS exceeding .800. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Justin Verlander named AL Pitcher of the Month," 2 June 2018 That someone finally did should have given hope to many watching from home, but that someone as creative as Peele felt so stymied by fear of financing should have been a warning sign to decision-makers inside the Dolby Theatre. Daniel D'addario, Time, "Inclusivity Reigned at the Oscars. Except When It Didn't," 5 Mar. 2018 These injunctions used to be a rarity, but judges know that appeals can take months to get to the Supreme Court and in the meantime the executive branch is stymied. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Chief Justice and the President," 27 Dec. 2018 For a decade, legal challenges and economic forces stymied the effort to redevelop Fort Lawton in Magnolia. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "After long delays, Seattle mayor will advance $90 million plan for low-income housing at Fort Lawton," 4 Feb. 2019 The program hasn't been completely stymied, though. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "The TSA Is Scaling Back a Controversial Program That Monitored Everyday People," 18 Dec. 2018 Lee-Sheng and Roberts, along with Councilman Ricky Templet, form a council faction that at times stymies Yenni administration initiatives. Drew Broach,, "Mike Yenni defends Jefferson Housing Authority appointment, questions 2012 dismissal," 8 May 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

2 Apr 2019

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

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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