- 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.
- to make or become stale.
Origin of stale1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for stale on Thesaurus.com
- (of livestock, especially horses) to urinate.
Origin of stale2
Examples from the Web for stale
Both are stale and boring, and whichever one you end up having in the end is still unpleasant.Team Peeta or Team Gale: Why the ‘Hunger Games’ Love Triangle Ruins ‘Mockingjay – Part 1’
November 28, 2014
To call them mediocre, uninspiring, and stale would be overly generous.Latinos Aren’t a ‘Cheap Date’ for Democrats Anymore
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
November 11, 2014
The issues seem “stale” only because the commentators demand to be entertained.What Al Franken’s Normcore Senate Race Can Teach Other Democrats
Ana Marie Cox
October 27, 2014
Instead, they will be at best a stale and bitter punchline of our times and then fade, unloved, into obscurity.A Brief History of Wingnuts in America; From George Washington to Woodstock
August 17, 2014
Fine, she says, but they lived on three stale sandwiches a day.‘We Cannot Return to Guatemala’: An Immigrant Mother’s Plea
July 24, 2014
The West and the East were met in conflict,—the old and the new, the stale and the fresh.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
He's too honest entirely to stale the value of a pin, let alone a carpetbag.Brave and Bold
But now came a tide of other news, and almost all of it was stale stuff to him.Way of the Lawless
Then, mix with it three stale rusks or small sponge-cakes, grated also.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
But the mixture was undoubtedly flat, stale and unprofitable.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
- (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; hackneyedstale clichés
- no longer newstale 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
- (intr) (of livestock) to urinate
- the urine of horses or cattle
Word Origin and History for stale
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.