[ steyl-meyt ]
See synonyms for stalemate on
  1. Chess. a position of the pieces in which a player cannot move any piece except the king and cannot move the king without putting it in check.

  2. any position or situation in which no action can be taken or progress made; deadlock: Talks between union and management resulted in a stalemate.

verb (used with object),stale·mat·ed, stale·mat·ing.
  1. to subject to a stalemate.

  2. to bring to a standstill.

verb (used without object),stale·mat·ed, stale·mat·ing.
  1. to be or result in a stalemate or standoff: Negotiations stalemated when new salary demands were introduced.

Origin of stalemate

1755–65; late Middle English stale stalemate (whence Anglo-French estale) (apparently special use of stale1) + mate2

Other words for stalemate

Other words from stalemate

  • un·stale·mat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby stalemate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use stalemate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stalemate


/ (ˈsteɪlˌmeɪt) /

  1. a chess position in which any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check: in this position the game ends in a draw

  2. a situation in which two opposing forces find that further action is impossible or futile; deadlock

  1. (tr) to subject to a stalemate

Origin of stalemate

C18: from obsolete stale, from Old French estal stall 1 + mate ²

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