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 Initial liberalization of restrictive press laws did not end official efforts to stymie free speech, with reporters and activists continuing to face legal challenges under laws covering defamation and online activities. Fox News, "Burmese actors get 1-year jail term for satirizing military," 1 Nov. 2019 To the Democratic leaders directing the impeachment proceedings, Trump's actions to stymie their probe into his conduct with Ukraine add up to another likely article of impeachment: Obstruction. Anchorage Daily News, "As Trump moves to bully witnesses and derail impeachment, Democrats see obstruction," 1 Nov. 2019 Lawsuit says yes During the probe, the lawsuit alleges, fraternity members attempted to stymie those efforts. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "Another frat death: UC Santa Cruz student fell out window after Theta Chi hazing, lawsuit says," 31 Oct. 2019 Garland finished with 12 points and buried a critical late-game 3-pointer that helped stymie Indiana’s comeback attempt. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "John Beilein gets unexpected shower and game ball presentation after first NBA win: ‘This one’s special’," 27 Oct. 2019 Mr Trump is reported to have tried to stymie aspects of this case at Turkey’s bidding. The Economist, "Another fine mess Donald Trump triggers a Turkish invasion and trashes the national interest," 17 Oct. 2019 But this missive displays remarkably different tactics to those previously used to stymie climate action. Zoe Leviston, Quartz, "There are three types of climate change denier—and most of us are at least one," 15 Oct. 2019 Vector control officials encouraged residents to dump any standing water around their homes to stymie breeding grounds for the insects. Los Angeles Times, "St. Louis encephalitis resurfaces in Orange County," 15 Oct. 2019 Indeed, the lack of consensus among tribes and Native people on the issue continues to stymie the efforts of activists who want to eliminate all Native-themed mascots from the sports world. John Hirschauer, National Review, "In Defense of the Atlanta Braves ‘Tomahawk Chop’ Chant," 9 Oct. 2019

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

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for stymie

The first known use of stymie was in 1902

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More Definitions for stymie


How to pronounce stymie (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stymie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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to speed up the process or progress of

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