Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A situation in which further action is blocked; a deadlock.
  • n. A drawing position in chess in which the king, although not in check, can move only into check and no other piece can move.
  • transitive v. To bring into a stalemate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state in which the player to move is not in check but has no legal moves, resulting in a draw.
  • n. Any situation that has no obvious possible movement, but does not involve any personal loss.
  • v. To bring about a state in which the player to move is not in check but has no legal moves.
  • v. To bring about a stalemate, in which no advance in an argument is achieved.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The position of the king when he can not move without being placed in check and there is no other piece which can be moved.
  • transitive v. To subject to a stalemate; hence, to bring to a stand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In chess, to subject to a stalemate: usually said of one's self, not of one's adversary: as, white is stalemated.
  • To bring to a standstill; nonplus.
  • n. In chess, a position in which a player, having to move in his turn, and his king not being in check, has no move available with any piece: in such a case the game is drawn; figuratively, any position in which no action can be taken.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. subject to a stalemate
  • n. drawing position in chess: any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check
  • n. a situation in which no progress can be made or no advancement is possible

Etymologies

Obsolete stale (from Middle English, probably from Anglo-Norman estale, fixed position, from Old French estal; see stale1) + mate2.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
stale + mate "checkmate" (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mr. Obama's stark warnings, particularly his use of the word "stalemate" to describe his efforts, weighed the dollar, said Robert Rennie, chief currency strategist at Westpac Institutional Bank.

    Asian Shares Rise on Solid Earnings

  • Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, citing one military official, said the document used the word "stalemate" to describe the conflict and did not adhere to U.S. military claims that the Taliban's momentum had been reversed.

    Analysis: Petraeus battles fears of CIA "militarization"

  • Most Americans think a stalemate is the likeliest outcome, something that may make an exit strategy harder to implement if that prediction comes true, adds Holland.

    CNN Poll: Americans mostly agree with Obama on Afghanistan

  • In addition, Mr. Auque pointed to what he described as a stalemate over designing a next-generation European heavy-lift rocket.

    European Space Programs Come Back to Earth

  • "What we're seeing now is perhaps not inevitable, but predictable," he said of the Libyan situation, which he described as a stalemate between Qaddafi's forces and the rebels.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • The right/wrong stalemate is what keeps people in your office for way too long.

    PS

  • The shift in language reflects growing Western concerns about a long-term stalemate which leaves Libya effectively divided, with Col.

    NATO Head Backs Calls for Gadhafi's Ouster

  • Olney, incredulously, lists the scope of the cuts, but she replies, "We have a deal, the stalemate is done, the IOUs will be over!"

    Archive 2009-07-01

  • To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion.

    Antiwar.com Blog

  • As insipid as Cronkite was, I'm still waiting for day that one of his contemporary successors makes a similar "we are mired in stalemate" statement about Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan on a major national "news" network.

    Walter Cronkite: ‘We Are Mired in Stalemate,’ 1968 « Antiwar.com Blog

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Comments

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  • In chess, when one player is unable to move any pieces, the game is drawn. Historically, the result of this has been different. At various times it has been a win for the stalemater, a win for the stalemated, an illegal move, a half-win for the stalemater, and a lost turn for the stalemated.

    February 21, 2007