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stale1

[steyl] /steɪl/
adjective, staler, stalest.
1.
not fresh; vapid or flat, as beverages; dry or hardened, as bread.
2.
musty; stagnant:
stale air.
3.
having lost novelty or interest; hackneyed; trite:
a stale joke.
4.
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.
5.
Law. having lost force or effectiveness through absence of action, as a claim.
verb (used with or without object), staled, staling.
6.
to make or become stale.
Origin of stale1
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English; akin to Middle Dutch stel in same sense; perhaps akin to stand or to stale2
Related forms
stalely, adverb
staleness, noun
Synonyms
1. hard, tasteless, sour, insipid. 3. uninteresting, stereotyped, old, common.
Antonyms
1. fresh.

stale2

[steyl] /steɪl/
verb (used without object), staled, staling.
1.
(of livestock, especially horses) to urinate.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English stalen to urinate; cognate with German stallen, Danish stalle, Norwegian, Swedish stalla
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for stale
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When it's done he rubs out the pencil lines with handfuls of stale bread crumbs.

    Sixes and Sevens O. Henry
  • He sniffed the stale fragrance and was satisfied that this was a room which was lived in.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • I'm done with women; they tempt me about as much as stale sponge cakes.

    The Dark Tower Phyllis Bottome
  • But his playing seemed to her to have lost its fire and sweep; to be stale, and as if disillusioned.

    Beyond John Galsworthy
  • Everything that seems new and exciting to you here is stale to me.

    The Daughters of a Genius Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
British Dictionary definitions for stale

stale1

/steɪl/
adjective
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
verb
9.
to make or become stale
Derived Forms
stalely, adverb
staleness, noun
Word Origin
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/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (of livestock) to urinate
noun
2.
the urine of horses or cattle
Word Origin
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 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for stale
adj.

c.1300, "freed from dregs or lees" (of ale, wine, etc.), i.e. "having stood long enough to clear," cognate with Middle Dutch stel "stale" (of beer), and probably ultimately from Proto-Germanic base *sta- "stand," the source of Old English standan "to stand," Perhaps via Old French estaler "halt," from Frankish *stal- "position" (see stall (n.1)). The meaning "not fresh" is first recorded late 15c. Figurative sense (of immaterial things) is recorded from 1560s. Related: Staleness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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