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stalemate

[steyl-meyt] /ˈsteɪlˌmeɪt/
noun
1.
Chess. a position of the pieces in which a player cannot move any piece except the king and cannot move the king without putting it in check.
2.
any position or situation in which no action can be taken or progress made; deadlock:
Talks between union and management resulted in a stalemate.
verb (used with object), stalemated, stalemating.
3.
to subject to a stalemate.
4.
to bring to a standstill.
verb (used without object), stalemated, stalemating.
5.
to be or result in a stalemate or standoff:
Negotiations stalemated when new salary demands were introduced.
Origin
late Middle English
1755-1765
1755-65; late Middle English stale stalemate (whence Anglo-French estale) (apparently special use of stale1) + mate2
Related forms
unstalemated, adjective
Synonyms
2. impasse, standoff, standstill.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for stale mate

stalemate

/ˈsteɪlˌmeɪt/
noun
1.
a chess position in which any of a player's possible moves would place his king in check: in this position the game ends in a draw
2.
a situation in which two opposing forces find that further action is impossible or futile; deadlock
verb
3.
(transitive) to subject to a stalemate
Word Origin
C18: from obsolete stale, from Old French estalstall1 + mate²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for stale mate

stalemate

n.

1765, in chess, from stale "stalemate" (early 15c.) + mate (n.2) "checkmate." Middle English stale is probably from Anglo-French estale "standstill" (see stall (n.2)). A misnomer, because a stale is not a mate. "In England from the 17th c. to the beginning of the 19th c. the player who received stalemate won the game" [OED]. Figurative sense is recorded from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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