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[steyl] /steɪl/
adjective, staler, stalest.
not fresh; vapid or flat, as beverages; dry or hardened, as bread.
musty; stagnant:
stale air.
having lost novelty or interest; hackneyed; trite:
a stale joke.
having lost freshness, vigor, quick intelligence, initiative, or the like, as from overstrain, boredom, or surfeit:
He had grown stale on the job and needed a long vacation.
Law. having lost force or effectiveness through absence of action, as a claim.
verb (used with or without object), staled, staling.
to make or become stale.
Origin of stale1
1250-1300; Middle English; akin to Middle Dutch stel in same sense; perhaps akin to stand or to stale2
Related forms
stalely, adverb
staleness, noun
1. hard, tasteless, sour, insipid. 3. uninteresting, stereotyped, old, common.
1. fresh.


[steyl] /steɪl/
verb (used without object), staled, staling.
(of livestock, especially horses) to urinate.
1400-50; late Middle English stalen to urinate; cognate with German stallen, Danish stalle, Norwegian, Swedish stalla Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for staled
Historical Examples
  • The Popes used them at last with a frequency that staled their effect.

  • There have been other passions—aye, as great as yours—yet have they staled.

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • They were not staled and blas, those simple people, but as fresh as children for the game in hand.

    The Retrospect Ada Cambridge
  • Again a miracle; these are things which cannot be staled by repetition.

    Expository Writing Mervin James Curl
  • His aging muscles, staled by thirty-odd years of lack of practice at such tricks, merely made it jerky and forced.

    Sundry Accounts Irvin S. Cobb
  • The mystery of the ancient wood was not to be staled by use.

    The Heart of the Ancient Wood Charles G. D. Roberts
  • They were most creditable tales and entertaining too at a first hearing, but they staled, as all tales must, with repetition.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • The information, however, was not particularly new to me, and the effect was staled by previous rehearsals.

    Dream Days Kenneth Grahame
  • There was no piquancy left in anything; all had palled and staled on their cloyed palates.

  • He was a brave man, but of a narrow and unsympathetic school, staled by continuous service throughout the war.

    The War Service of the 1/4 Royal Berkshire Regiment (T. F.) Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell
British Dictionary definitions for staled


(esp of food) hard, musty, or dry from being kept too long
(of beer, etc) flat and tasteless from being kept open too long
(of air) stagnant; foul
uninteresting from overuse; hackneyed: stale clichés
no longer new: stale news
lacking in energy or ideas through overwork or lack of variety
(banking) (of a cheque) not negotiable by a bank as a result of not having been presented within six months of being written
(law) (of a claim, etc) having lost its effectiveness or force, as by failure to act or by the lapse of time
to make or become stale
Derived Forms
stalely, adverb
staleness, noun
Word Origin
C13 (originally applied to liquor in the sense: well matured): probably via Norman French from Old French estale (unattested) motionless, of Frankish origin; related to stall1, install


(intransitive) (of livestock) to urinate
the urine of horses or cattle
Word Origin
C15: perhaps from Old French estaler to stand in one position; see stall1; compare Middle Low German stallen to urinate, Greek stalassein to drip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for staled



c.1300, "freed from dregs or lees" (of ale, wine, etc.), i.e. "having stood long enough to clear," cognate with Middle Dutch stel "stale" (of beer), and probably ultimately from Proto-Germanic base *sta- "stand," the source of Old English standan "to stand," Perhaps via Old French estaler "halt," from Frankish *stal- "position" (see stall (n.1)). The meaning "not fresh" is first recorded late 15c. Figurative sense (of immaterial things) is recorded from 1560s. Related: Staleness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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