- 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
Examples from the Web for staleness
When it came to the summer of 2012 at the movies, everything old was new again—despite a whiff of staleness.‘The Bourne Legacy’ Starring Jeremy Renner: 7 Reasons to See It!
August 10, 2012
The oddest mixture of staleness and of freshness is to be found there.My Contemporaries In Fiction
David Christie Murray
Kwel smell of staleness, of sourness, above all of coldness!The Day of the Boomer Dukes
The post-office was thick with staleness that held its own, though chilled.Child and Country
Will Levington Comfort
He, too, who had admonished her rather sneeringly for staleness in her information.Diana of the Crossways, Complete
Was Government admitting there was nothing but staleness in the present?DP
Arthur Dekker Savage
- (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 staleness
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.