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Alternative forms[edit]


Originally from golf, perhaps from Scots stymie, stimie.[1][2]


  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /ˈstaɪmi/
  • Rhymes: -aɪmi


stymie (plural stymies)

  1. (golf) A situation where an opponent's ball is directly in the way of one's own ball and the hole, on the putting green (abolished 1952).
  2. (by extension) An obstacle or obstruction.


stymie (third-person singular simple present stymies, present participle stymieing or stymying, simple past and past participle stymied)

  1. To thwart or stump; to cause to fail or to leave hopelessly puzzled, confused, or stuck.
    Synonyms: block, thwart
    They had lost the key, and the lock stymied the first three locksmiths they called.
    If writing dates has you stymied at times, it is probably for one of two reasons. [1]
    • 2005, Tony Judt, “The Rehabilitation of Europe”, in Postwar: A history of Europe since 1945, London: Vintage Books, published 2010, →ISBN:
      It constrained governments, businesses and labour unions to collaborate in planning increased rates of output and the conditions likely to facilitate them. And above all, it blocked any return to the temptations that had so stymied the inter-war economy: under-production, mutually destructive protectionism, and a collapse of trade.
    • 2007 January 21, Joyce Cohen, “Beauty in the Eye of the Renter”, in New York Times[2]:
      I was making such a drama in my head it was stymieing me.
    • 2018 July 1, John Rennie, “This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving”, in Wired[3]:
      In populations that have “burst” and “path” structures, for example, individuals can never occupy positions in the graph that their ancestors held. Those structures stymie evolution by denying advantageous mutations any chance to take over a population.
  2. (golf) To bring into the position of, or impede by, a stymie.


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper, “stymie”, in Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2021.
  2. ^ stymie”, in Merriam–Webster Online Dictionary.