• synonyms


or sty·my, sti·my

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  1. Golf. (on a putting green) an instance of a ball's lying on a direct line between the cup and the ball of an opponent about to putt.
  2. a situation or problem presenting such difficulties as to discourage or defeat any attempt to deal with or resolve it.
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verb (used with object), sty·mied, sty·mie·ing.
  1. to hinder, block, or thwart.
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Origin of stymie

First recorded in 1855–60; origin uncertain


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noun, plural sty·mies, verb (used with object), sty·mied, sty·my·ing.
  1. stymie.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for stymies

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I believe it is the law that there are no stymies in a three-ball match.

  • There is one remark which James Braid makes about stymies which I should like to refer to here.

    The Soul of Golf

    Percy Adolphus Vaile

  • Eight of ten stymies should present no more difficulty than an ordinary put.

    The Soul of Golf

    Percy Adolphus Vaile

  • The fact which must be driven home is that some stymies are negotiable and others are not—not by any player or by any method.

  • If the ball that stymies you is on the lip and your own is three yards away, it is obvious that you cannot pitch over it.

British Dictionary definitions for stymies



verb -mies, -mieing, -mied, -mies, -mying or -mied (tr; often passive)
  1. to hinder or thwart
  2. golf to impede with a stymie
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noun plural -mies
  1. golf (formerly) a situation on the green in which an opponent's ball is blocking the line between the hole and the ball about to be played: an obstructing ball may now be lifted and replaced by a marker
  2. a situation of obstruction
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Word Origin

C19: of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for stymies


1834, (n.), "condition in which an opponent's golf ball blocks the hole," perhaps from Scottish stymie "person who sees poorly," from stime "the least bit" (c.1300), of uncertain origin (Icelandic cognate skima is attested from c.1685). The verb, in golf, is from 1857; general sense of "block, hinder, thwart" is from 1902.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper