Definition of stalemate in English:


Syllabification: stale·mate
Pronunciation: /ˈstālˌmāt


  • 1A position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check.
    More example sentences
    • The often-criticized rule that stalemate is a draw also increases Chess's drama, by giving a player hope of salvaging something even after he can no longer win.
    • Throwing in the proverbial towel is, however, not an option according to the rules of this particular contest, which state that the game can only end with checkmate or stalemate.
    • So don't tell me that this game will eventually come to a stalemate like chess, where the player turns over his king and quits.
  • 1.1A situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible: the war had again reached stalemate
    More example sentences
    • A mediator can break this stalemate and get the parties talking.
    • Workers and management at a Great Harwood engineering depot have reached stalemate over pay claims.
    • Now officials have warned that if negotiations reach stalemate today they will resort to legal action.
    deadlock, impasse, standoff; draw, tie, dead heat


[with object] Back to top  
  • Bring to or cause to reach stalemate: (as adjective stalemated) the currently stalemated peace talks
    More example sentences
    • This article concludes by suggesting ways in which the currently stalemated debate might be revitalized by principled interventions from scholars and concerned citizens.
    • Nick managed to move his battered body quickly enough to launch his own counter-blast, successfully stalemating the battleship's beam.
    • Fitzsimmons notes that prior to 4 August, debates in the National Assembly were largely stalemated between those legislators who wanted reform and those who wanted to preserve the status quo.


mid 18th century: from obsolete stale (from Anglo-Norman French estale 'position', from estaler 'be placed') + mate2.

More definitions of stalemate

Definition of stalemate in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody