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 Taking steps to stymie transmission of the virus — including wearing masks in public, regularly washing your hands and avoiding crowds, particularly indoors — remain vital, officials and experts say. Luke Money, Los Angeles Times, "California hits target of 2 million vaccines in low-income areas, clearing way for wider reopenings," 12 Mar. 2021 His effort to stymie an organizing resolution shows the filibuster at its worst: an anti-democratic tool by which a handful of lawmakers can stop the majority from taking power and governing the nation. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Mitch McConnell Is Killing the Filibuster," 23 Jan. 2021 Will America’s vaccine hesitancy stymie the COVID shot rollout? Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "One hospital says telehealth has made its COVID vaccine rollout ‘three to four times more efficient’," 5 Mar. 2021 Nonprofits have a unique collective responsibility and opportunity: to build innovative cross-sector partnerships aimed to address and challenge the racial inequities that stymie our nation. Kyle Zimmer, Forbes, "Advancing Racial Equity Through Innovative Cross-Sector Partnerships," 25 Feb. 2021 The whereabouts of deer can similarly stymie wildlife biologists. Star Tribune, "Drones are helping modernize deer counts through locating fawns," 4 Mar. 2021 Even in defeat, and as the first president to try and stymie a peaceful transition of power, or face two impeachments, Trump continues to cast a dark and broad shadow over the GOP. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Watch live: Senate votes to consider calling witnesses at Trump impeachment trial," 13 Feb. 2021 Kaitlin Sullivan reports for NBC News on what's working in the two states, as well as lingering issues — such as misinformation, a false sense of security and the politicization of infection prevention measures — which could stymie their success. NBC News, "Trump's second impeachment trial, Democrats embrace big spending and saying goodbye to a Supreme trailblazer," 9 Feb. 2021 The new agreement retains some of the limits for refusing requests for evidence, arrests or extraditions, but adds exceptions that could stymie others. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, "Joint Probes to Continue Post-Brexit—With More Red Tape," 11 Jan. 2021

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

Statistics for stymie

Last Updated

2 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stymie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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