- Informal. to block, stall, or resist intentionally: lobbying efforts to stonewall passage of the legislation.
- British. to obstruct (the passage of a legislative bill) in Parliament, especially by excessive or prolonged debate.
- pertaining to or characteristic of stonewalling: a new round of stonewall tactics.
Origin of stonewall
- (intr) cricket (of a batsman) to play defensively
- to obstruct or hinder (parliamentary business)
Old English stanwalle (n.); see stone (n.) + wall (n.). As nickname of Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson (1824-1863), bestowed 1861 on the occasion of the First Battle of Bull Run, supposedly by Gen. Bernard Bee, urging his brigade to rally around Jackson, who was "standing like a stone wall." Bee was killed in the battle; the account of the nickname appeared in Southern newspapers within four days of the battle.
On the face of it this account has no character of authenticity, and the words ascribed to Bee smack less of the battlefield than of the editorial sanctum. ... It seems inherently probable that something was said by somebody, during or immediately after the battle, that likened Jackson or his men or both to a stone wall. [R.M. Johnston, "Bull Run: Its Strategy and Tactics," Boston, 1913]
"to obstruct," 1914, from metaphoric use of stone wall for "act of obstruction" (1876). Related: Stonewalled; stonewalling.