stymie

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DEFINITION
verb
: to present an obstacle to : stand in the way of.

EXAMPLES
1. Progress on the project has been stymied by lack of funds.
2. “Even the town’s initiatives couldn’t stop someone from buying Wagner’s land and developing it with houses. The only safeguards lie in the forest’s marshes and hills that might stymie much development.” — From an article by Taylor W. Anderson in the Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2013.

DID YOU KNOW?
Golf was being played in Scotland as early as the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the sport really caught on in England and North America. It was also in the 19th century that the word “stymie” entered English as a noun referring to a golfing situation in which one player’s ball lies between another ball and the hole on the putting green, thereby blocking the line of play. Later, “stymie” came to be used as a verb meaning “to bring into the position of, or impede by, a stymie.” By the early 20th century, the verb was being applied in similarly vexing non-golf contexts.

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