Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having lost freshness, effervescence, or palatability.
  • adjective Lacking originality or spontaneity.
  • adjective Ineffective or uninspired, usually from being out of practice or from having done the same thing for too long.
  • adjective Law Legally unenforceable because of a claimant's delay in seeking enforcement.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To make or become stale.
  • intransitive verb To urinate. Used especially of horses and camels.
  • noun The urine of certain animals, especially horses and camels.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A stalk; stem.
  • noun The stem of an arrow.
  • noun A handle; especially, a long handle, as that of a rake, ladle, etc.
  • noun A round or rung of a ladder; a step.
  • noun Theft; stealing; pilfering.
  • noun Stealth; stealthy movement.
  • noun Concealment; ambush.
  • noun A trap, gin, or snare.
  • noun An allurement; a bait; a decoy; a stool-pigeon: as, a stale for a foist or pickpocket.
  • noun An object of deception, scorn, derision, merriment, ridicule, or the like; a dupe; a laughing-stock.
  • To render stale, flat, or insipid; deprive of freshness, attraction, or interest; make common or cheap.
  • To make water; urinate: said of horses and cattle.
  • Old (and therefore strong): said of malt liquors, which in this condition were more in demand.
  • Old and lifeless; the worse for age or for keeping; partially spoiled.
  • Old and trite; lacking in novelty or freshness; hackneyed: as, stale news; a stale jest.
  • In athletics, overtrained; injured by overtraining: noting the person or his condition.
  • noun That which has become flat and tasteless, or spoiled by use or exposure, as stale beer.
  • noun A prostitute.
  • noun A stalemate.
  • noun Urine of horses and cattle.
  • noun An old preterit of steal.
  • To be overtrained; be injured by the strain of long training, so that the response to stimulus, mental or physical, is impaired: said of horses and athletes, and also used figuratively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The stock or handle of anything.
  • noun obsolete That which is stale or worn out by long keeping, or by use.
  • noun obsolete A prostitute.
  • noun Urine, esp. that of beasts.
  • transitive verb To make vapid or tasteless; to destroy the life, beauty, or use of; to wear out.
  • adjective Vapid or tasteless from age; having lost its life, spirit, and flavor, from being long kept.
  • adjective Not new; not freshly made.
  • adjective Having lost the life or graces of youth; worn out; decayed.
  • adjective Worn out by use or familiarity; having lost its novelty and power of pleasing; trite; common.
  • adjective (Law) an affidavit held above a year.
  • adjective (Law) a claim or demand which has not been pressed or demanded for a long time.
  • noun obsolete Something set, or offered to view, as an allurement to draw others to any place or purpose; a decoy; a stool pigeon.
  • noun obsolete A stalking-horse.
  • noun (Chess), obsolete A stalemate.
  • noun obsolete A laughingstock; a dupe.
  • intransitive verb To make water; to discharge urine; -- said especially of horses and cattle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having lost its freshness from age; (of food) still edible, but hard or unpleasant from age.
  • adjective No longer new; no longer interesting; established; old; as, stale news, a stale joke, etc.
  • noun Urine, especially of horses or cattle.
  • verb To urinate (of livestock, especially horses)
  • noun obsolete A person's position, especially in a battle-line.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, settled, clear (used of beer or wine), probably from Old French estale, slack, settled, clear, from estaler, to come to a standstill, halt, from estal, standing place, stand, of Germanic origin; see stel- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English stalen, possibly of Low German origin; akin to Middle Low German stallen.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French estal (from French étal), from Frankish *stal, from Proto-Germanic *stallo-, earlier *staþlo-. Ultimately related to stand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Apparently from Anglo-Norman estale ("pigeon used to entice a hawk"), ultimately from Proto-Germanic.

Examples

  • That's an eon in the world of slang, enough time to render a term stale.

    As Slang Changes More Rapidly, Expert Has to Watch His Language

  • You don't want to use the word stale but you look for some kind of spark, Laich said.

    Capitals shift momentum and score three unanswered goals to defeat Islanders 3-2

  • During the presidential campaign, we know that Barack Obama promised to move away from what he called the stale and divisive politics of the past.

    CNN Transcript Apr 8, 2009

  • He estimates that is the calculated total for every person in that state who bought what he calls a stale ticket.

    CNN Transcript Jul 3, 2008

  • He estimates that is the calculated total for every person in that state who bought what he calls a stale ticket.

    CNN Transcript Jul 3, 2008

  • Should this form of vitality cease with the tree another principle which we call stale life takes possession and constructs another tree which is just the reverse of the living tree, and builds a tree after its own power of formulation from the dead matter, to which it imparts a principle of stale life, which life produces mushrooms, frogstools and other peculiar forms of stale beings, from this form of growth.

    Philosophy of Osteopathy

  • I'm a little embarrassed to say that I simply can't remember the environment variable that I need to set in order to remove what I call "stale" network adapters in Device Manager.

    Site Home

  • As if a mere human could compete with clogged freeways and Sisyphean paper pushing (or its more up-to-date equivalent, paperless pushing) and burnt-coffee-laced afternoons counting the acoustic tiles in stale conference rooms, and the hours spent arguing over the wording of a memo that within minutes after its dissemination will be dragged into the now-two-dimensional circular file.

    I Choose My Choice!

  • As if a mere human could compete with clogged freeways and Sisyphean paper pushing (or its more up-to-date equivalent, paperless pushing) and burnt-coffee-laced afternoons counting the acoustic tiles in stale conference rooms, and the hours spent arguing over the wording of a memo that within minutes after its dissemination will be dragged into the now-two-dimensional circular file.

    I Choose My Choice!

  • What was old and getting stale is now reborn into something entirely different.

    PRISON BREAK: To Watch or Not to Watch? | the TV addict

Comments

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  • North of England provincial term for a hurdle. --Grose's A Provincial Glossary, 1787.

    May 18, 2011

  • The definitions of this word involving urine give new meaning to stale bread, stale air.

    May 18, 2011

  • Presumably the same as stile in the sense of hurdle.

    May 18, 2011

  • It also makes the Century Dictionary's second definition for sig seem redundant.

    May 18, 2011