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stumbling block

an obstacle or hindrance to progress, belief, or understanding.
Origin of stumbling block
First recorded in 1580-90
hurdle, barrier, impediment, block, bar. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for stumbling block
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Von Horn was really the only stumbling block in Bududreen's path.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Many of them used their liberty in their northern home as a stumbling block.

  • That speech has been the stumbling block of most actors we have seen.

    The Mirror of Taste, and Dramatic Censor Stephen Cullen Carpenter
  • The 10d has already proved a stumbling block, for it was not perforated at all!

    The Stamps of Canada Bertram Poole
  • To Kat, he was nothing, unless it was a stumbling block in the way of her happiness.

    Six Girls Fannie Belle Irving
  • You do not wish to be a stumbling block, do you, Monsieur le Cur?

    The Surprises of Life Georges Clemenceau
  • Still there was a stumbling block in the way of arresting Small.

  • Do not be cast down; all will go well if the stumbling block be removed.

    Letters of George Borrow George Borrow
  • There was one person who had always been an eyesore to him, and a stumbling block in his way.

    Vassall Morton Francis Parkman
British Dictionary definitions for stumbling block

stumbling block

any impediment or obstacle
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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Idioms and Phrases with stumbling block

stumbling block

A hindrance or obstacle, as in His lack of a degree is a real stumbling block to his advancement. This term originally meant “a tree stump over which one trips.” Its figurative use dates from the early 1500s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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