1 [steyl]
adjective, staler, stalest.
not fresh; vapid or flat, as beverages; dry or hardened, as bread.
musty; stagnant: stale air.
having lost novelty or interest; hackneyed; trite: a stale joke.
having lost freshness, vigor, quick intelligence, initiative, or the like, as from overstrain, boredom, or surfeit: He had grown stale on the job and needed a long vacation.
Law. having lost force or effectiveness through absence of action, as a claim.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), staled, staling.
to make or become stale.

1250–1300; Middle English; akin to Middle Dutch stel in same sense; perhaps akin to stand or to stale2

stalely, adverb
staleness, noun

1. hard, tasteless, sour, insipid. 3. uninteresting, stereotyped, old, common.

1. fresh. Unabridged


2 [steyl]
verb (used without object), staled, staling.
(of livestock, especially horses) to urinate.

1400–50; late Middle English stalen to urinate; cognate with German stallen, Danish stalle, Norwegian, Swedish stalla Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stale1 (steɪl)
1.  (esp of food) hard, musty, or dry from being kept too long
2.  (of beer, etc) flat and tasteless from being kept open too long
3.  (of air) stagnant; foul
4.  uninteresting from overuse; hackneyed: stale clichés
5.  no longer new: stale news
6.  lacking in energy or ideas through overwork or lack of variety
7.  banking (of a cheque) not negotiable by a bank as a result of not having been presented within six months of being written
8.  law (of a claim, etc) having lost its effectiveness or force, as by failure to act or by the lapse of time
9.  to make or become stale
[C13 (originally applied to liquor in the sense: well matured): probably via Norman French from Old French estale (unattested) motionless, of Frankish origin; related to stall1, install]

stale2 (steɪl)
1.  (intr) (of livestock) to urinate
2.  the urine of horses or cattle
[C15: perhaps from Old French estaler to stand in one position; see stall1; compare Middle Low German stallen to urinate, Greek stalassein to drip]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "freed from dregs or lees" (of ale, wine, etc.), i.e. "having stood long enough to clear," cognate with M.Du. stel "stale" (of beer), and probably ult. from P.Gmc. base *sta- "stand," the source of O.E. standan "to stand," Perhaps via O.Fr. estaler "halt," from Frankish *stal- "position" (see
stall (1)). The meaning "not fresh" is first recorded late 15c. Figurative sense (of immaterial things) is recorded from 1560s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When ways of seeing things grow tired or stale, however, art has a way of stepping in and doing something fresh.
Stale date means the date the check is no longer valid for cashing.
Be sure to look at the date to make sure that you aren't looking at stale results.
Six persons were poisoned yesterday by eating stale buns.
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