Session denies 'Stonewalling'

to be uncooperative, obstructive, or evasive

Stonewall (“to be uncooperative, obstructive, or evasive”) was among our top lookups on June 13th, 2017, following Jeff Sessions's assertion that it was something that he was not doing, in testimony given before the U.S. Senate.

“I’m not able to comment on conversations with high officials in the White House,” Mr. Sessions said, denying that he was “stonewalling.”
The New York Times, _13 Jun. 2017

Stonewall has been in use in English, both as an open and a closed compound, for a considerable length of time. For most of its life the word has simply referred to the building of stone walls, or to stone walls in general. The sense in which it was used by Sessions is a fairly recent addition to our language, dating from the latter portion of the 19th century.

The word for the practice of stonewalling (referring specifically to political obstruction) apparently began in Australia, and soon after moved to the United States.

It was quite constitutional, and was consistent with the freest discussion, while it would be effectual in putting down what was called stone-walling.
The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 9 Feb. 1876

Since the memorable night when the above was stone-walled by Mr. Purves and his insignificant following, and thereby delayed for another session, a new Daniel appears to have arisen, and to have become possessed of supremacy in railroad administration.
The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1 Jul. 1876

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