Definition of stall in English:

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Pronunciation: /stɔːl/


1A stand, booth, or compartment for the sale of goods in a market or large covered area: fruit and vegetable stalls
More example sentences
  • People think buying copies is a victimless crime, but the idea that they are ‘just’ being sold by a couple of guys at a market stall or car-boot sale is misleading.
  • Roadsides are full of market stalls with fruit, vegetables, meat and other items.
  • It was market day and the stalls stood in rows with local people in colourful ethnic clothes squeezing together in throngs, full of happiness.
stand, table, counter, booth, kiosk, compartment
2An individual compartment for an animal in a stable or cowshed, enclosed on three sides.
Example sentences
  • This configuration recalls the form of traditional livestock barns with a center walkway and animal stalls to each side.
  • Farrowing rate for sows in individual stalls was equal to or superior to sows in other systems.
  • The animals were confined to drylot paddocks and fed the assigned concentrate in individual feeding stalls.
pen, coop, sty, corral, enclosure, compartment, cubicle
2.1A stable or cowshed.
Example sentences
  • Stocks Market, on the site of the Mansion House, had been in existence for some centuries but was increasingly challenged by Covent Garden, started as a few sheds and stalls.
2.2North American A marked-out parking space for a vehicle: a parking stall
More example sentences
  • The current parking ratio of 0.26 stalls per faculty/staff/student is above the national average of 0.23.
  • Redevelopment has since reduced it to 443 parking stalls.
  • Identify the free stall users with parking passes and after a year the city can decide based on use whether to add or reduce the number of free stalls, she said.
2.3 (also starting stall) A cage-like compartment in which a horse is held immediately prior to the start of a race.
Example sentences
  • Unlike National Hunt, all Flat races start from stalls.
  • New York Racing Association assistant starter Fred Lewis pulled a colleague from underneath a thrashing horse who had flipped in a starting stall at Saratoga Race Course.
  • There is drama before the race as Red Power rears up and throws off Johnny Murtagh in front of the stalls - the horse is withdrawn from the race.
2.4A compartment for one person in a set of toilets, shower cubicles, etc.
Example sentences
  • There was even an attached bathroom with sinks, toilets and shower stalls.
  • There were four sinks to the left, and four toilets with stalls near the showers.
  • Another door revealed a bathroom with only a shower stall, sink and a toilet.
3A fixed seat in the choir or chancel of a church, enclosed at the back and sides and often canopied, typically reserved for a particular member of the clergy.
Example sentences
  • There were so many choir wannabes that they filled the choir platform, the stalls and the circle seats - and outnumbered the audience confined to the upper galleries.
  • Above the church stalls to the left of the altar, however, hangs a small painting that is deceptively unassuming.
  • Yesterday's ceremony was the formal installation of the king, who was appointed to a stall - or seat - in St George's Chapel, home of the order.
4 (stalls) British The seats on the ground floor in a theatre: [as modifier]: a stalls seat
More example sentences
  • The action is seen as it would be from a good seat in the theatre stalls.
  • Some feel that 20 for a seat in the stalls is a bit steep.
  • In my own case, I usually purchase seats in the stalls for six adults and five children costing in the region of £100.
North American  orchestra, parterre
5An instance of an engine, vehicle, aircraft, or boat stalling: speed must be maintained to avoid a stall and loss of control
More example sentences
  • But if the stick is moved back when the airplane is very close to the stall the aircraft will not pitch up much, if at all.
  • If approaching a stall at racing altitude there would be no chance of recovery.
  • This was especially important for students who were learning carrier landings which were carried out at slow speed and close to the stall.


1 [no object] (Of a motor vehicle or its engine) stop running, typically because of an overload on the engine: her car stalled at the crossroads
More example sentences
  • At first I couldn't think why the car had simply stalled and tried to restart it several times to no avail.
  • ‘It was like I was looking at it in slow motion when all those cars were going by,’ said Lehto, who had to restart the car when the engine stalled on the spin.
  • Although the car never stalled for me, I was able to duplicate the customer's complaint of trouble on steep grades.
1.1(Of an aircraft) stop flying and begin to fall because the speed is too low or the angle of attack too large to maintain adequate lift.
Example sentences
  • The aircraft can stall and fall and there is nothing you can do about it.
  • At no speed the glider stalled and because of the left turn my left wing went down first.
  • Huge flaps, functioning like parachutes, lifted on each wing, and the Concorde's airspeed dropped swiftly as the aircraft stalled.
1.2 Sailing Have insufficient wind power in the sails to give controlled motion.
Example sentences
  • A sailing ship that becomes stalled with its bow to the wind is said to be ‘in irons.’
  • Rey and his crew skillfully brought the boat to a near-standstill, pointed into the wind and on the verge of stalling out.
  • The sail coefficient of lift increases to its maximum and we are on the point of stalling the sail.
1.3 [with object] Cause to stall.
Example sentences
  • Green said the men ordered her to climb back into the vehicle but they had stalled the car and were unable to restart it.
  • On October 30, just as the flood waters were creeping up in Ryedale, she drove her Peugeot car through a deep puddle and stalled the engine.
  • In flight, there was less than a ten knot difference between a speed so fast that it would rip the wings off the aircraft and a speed so slow that it would stall the engine.
2Stop or cause to stop making progress: [no object]: his career had stalled, hers taken off [with object]: the government has stalled the much-needed project
More example sentences
  • But as soon as those mergers were announced, progress on any deal stalled.
  • I won't discuss my other projects in progress that are stalled and waiting.
  • His career stalled, Rodgers unenthusiastically enrolled at Columbia, following his brother's pre-med path.
obstruct, impede, interfere with, hinder, hamper, block, interrupt, hold up, hold back, stand in the way of, frustrate, thwart, baulk, inhibit, hamstring, sabotage, encumber, restrain, slow, slow down, retard, delay, stonewall, forestall, arrest, check, stop, halt, stay, derail, restrict, limit, curb, put a brake on, bridle, fetter, shackle
informal stymie
North American informal bork
rare trammel
3 [no object] Speak or act in a deliberately vague way in order to gain more time to deal with something; prevaricate: she was stalling for time
More example sentences
  • A single car meandered down the street, an executive returning home late from work, stalling for time before he entered the house of the angry wife.
  • A contract was drawn up, but Billie-Jean kept stalling on exchange and settlement dates.
  • The government is stalling on this reasonable request.
use delaying tactics, play for time, temporize, gain time, hang back, hang fire, hold back, procrastinate, hedge, beat about the bush, drag one's feet, delay, filibuster, stonewall
US informal kick the can down the road
3.1 [with object] Delay or divert (someone) by prevarication: stall him until I’ve had time to take a look
More example sentences
  • I was trying to stall him, until my desperate and panicked mind could think of one way out of this.
  • Coyne said he waited until the bell rang so students could change classes without seeing Mayer in the hallway, adding he ‘could understand why Mayer thought he was stalling him.’
  • So when Michel popped the question, she said the first thing that came into her head as a way of stalling him: ‘Only if the King of Tonga marries us.’
delay, divert, distract;
hold off, stave off, fend off, keep off, ward off, keep at bay, keep at arm's length
4 [with object] Put or keep (an animal) in a stall, especially in order to fatten it: the horses were stalled at Upper Bolney Farm
More example sentences
  • One more row was behind these stalls on both sides, allowing a maximum of eighty horses to be stalled in the large place.
  • ‘You could see where the horses had been stalled,’ Andy recalls of that first visit to the barn.
  • Stallions that are stalled tend to move about more and sometimes roll more frequently then when they are turned out.


set out one's stall

British Display or assert one’s abilities or position: he has set out his stall as a strong supporter of free trade
More example sentences
  • ‘He will essentially be setting out his stall in a much more detailed way than he has been able to do so far,’ one aide said.
  • Thomas Keneally sets out his stall in a covering letter that arrives with the review copy of his latest work of fiction.
  • The conductor sets out his stall with a deliberately paced opening.


Old English steall 'stable or cattle shed', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stal, also to stand. Early senses of the verb included 'reside, dwell' and 'bring to a halt'.

Words that rhyme with stall

all, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: stall

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