stumbling block


an obstacle or hindrance to progress, belief, or understanding.

Origin of stumbling block

First recorded in 1580–90

Synonyms for stumbling block Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stumbling block

Historical Examples of stumbling block

  • Do not put any stumbling-block in your path which will make you suffer later on.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Perhaps so; but "the stumbling-block, his speech, who laid it?"

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald

  • Beauty” is, to some persons, as great a stumbling-block as “contrivance.

  • To the modern progressive mind the wide sands are a stumbling-block.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • The divorce had been from the beginning, and remained to the end, a stumbling-block to the people.

    Henry VIII.

    A. F. Pollard

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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.