Word of the Day – Stymie

Word of the Day: May 15, 2020


verb – STYE-mee


  • to present an obstacle to : stand in the way of

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.


“Ventura County supervisors are reviving an effort to build a bicycle path for commuting and recreation in a railroad corridor that parallels Highway 126, a project that’s been stymied in the past by agricultural interests who say it could jeopardize their crops.” — Kathleen Wilson, The Ventura County (California) Star, 23 Mar. 2020

“A bout with polio when she was 18 months old has left her wheelchair bound, but it’s clear … that it hasn’t stymied her instinct for leadership. Heumann would go on to serve under Presidents Clinton and Obama as an advisor on disability rights….” — David Alm, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2020

Merriam-Webster Word of the Day