stall off


2 [stawl]
verb (used without object)
to delay, especially by evasion or deception.
Sports. to prolong holding the ball as a tactic to prevent the opponent from scoring, as when one's team has the lead. Compare freeze ( def 31 ).
verb (used with object)
to delay or put off, especially by evasion or deception (often followed by off ): He stalled the police for 15 minutes so his accomplice could get away.
a pretext, as a ruse, trick, or the like, used to delay or deceive.
Underworld Slang. the member of a pickpocket's team who distracts the victim long enough for the theft to take place.
Sports. slowdown ( def 3 ).

1490–1500; earlier stale decoy bird (> Anglo-French estale decoy pigeon), Old English stæl- decoy (in stælhrān decoy reindeer); akin to stall1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To stall off
World English Dictionary
stall1 (stɔːl)
1.  a.  a compartment in a stable or shed for confining or feeding a single animal
 b.  another name for stable
2.  a small often temporary stand or booth for the display and sale of goods
3.  in a church
 a.  one of a row of seats, usually divided from the others by armrests or a small screen, for the use of the choir or clergy
 b.  a pen
4.  an instance of an engine stalling
5.  a condition of an aircraft in flight in which a reduction in speed or an increase in the aircraft's angle of attack causes a sudden loss of lift resulting in a downward plunge
6.  any small room or compartment
7.  (Brit)
 a.  a seat in a theatre or cinema that resembles a chair, usually fixed to the floor
 b.  (plural) the area of seats on the ground floor of a theatre or cinema nearest to the stage or screen
8.  a tubelike covering for a finger, as in a glove
9.  (plural) short for starting stalls
10.  (Brit) set out one's stall to make the necessary arrangements for the achievement of something and show that one is determined to achieve it
11.  to cause (a motor vehicle or its engine) to stop, usually by incorrect use of the clutch or incorrect adjustment of the fuel mixture, or (of an engine or motor vehicle) to stop, usually for these reasons
12.  to cause (an aircraft) to go into a stall or (of an aircraft) to go into a stall
13.  to stick or cause to stick fast, as in mud or snow
14.  (tr) to confine (an animal) in a stall
[Old English steall a place for standing; related to Old High German stall, and stellen to set]

stall2 (stɔːl)
1.  to employ delaying tactics towards (someone); be evasive
2.  chiefly (US) (intr) sport to play or fight below one's best in order to deceive
3.  an evasive move; pretext
[C16: from Anglo-French estale bird used as a decoy, influenced by stall1]

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

"place in a stable for animals," O.E. steall "place where cattle are kept, place, position," from P.Gmc. *stallaz (cf. O.N. stallr "pedestal for idols, altar," O.Fris. stal, O.H.G. stall "stand, place, stable, stall," Ger. Stall "stable," Stelle "place"), earlier *stalnaz- or *stathlo-, from PIE base
*sta- "to stand" (cf. Gk. stellein "to set in order, arrange, equip;" see stet). The word passed into Romanic languages (cf. It. stallo "place," stalla "stable;" O.Fr. estal "place, position, stand, stall," Fr. étal "butcher's stall"). Several meanings, including that of "a stand for selling" (mid-13c., implied in stallage "tax levied for the privilege of erecting a stall at a market or fair"), are from (or influenced by) O.Fr. estal. Meaning "partially enclosed seat in a choir" is attested from c.1400; that of "urinal in a men's room" is from 1967.

"pretense to avoid doing something," variant of stale "bird used as a decoy to lure other birds" (c.1440), from Anglo-Fr. estale "decoy, pigeon used to lure a hawk" (13c., cf. stool pigeon), lit. "standstill," from O.Fr. estal "place, stand, stall," from Frankish *stal- "position," cognate with O.E.
steall (see stall (n.1)). Cf. O.E. stælhran "decoy reindeer," Ger. stellvogel "decoy bird." Fig. sense of "deception, means of allurement" is first recorded c.1529. Meaning "evasive trick or story, pretext, excuse" first recorded 1812 (see stall (v.)); sense entwined with that of "thief's assistant" (1591).
"The stallers up are gratified with such part of the gains acquired as the liberality of the knuckling gentlemen may prompt them to bestow." [J.H. Vaux, "Flash Dictionary," 1812]

1592, "to screen a pickpocket from observation," from stall (n.2) "decoy." Meaning "to precaricate, be evasive, play for time" is attested from 1903. Of engines or engine-powered vehicles, it is attested from 1904 (trans.), 1914 (intrans.), from earlier sense of "to become
stuck, come to a standstill" (c.1400), which is directly from O.Fr. estale or O.E. steall (see stall (n.1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature