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stall / stôl/ • n. 1. a stand, booth, or compartment for the sale of goods in a market or large covered area: fruit and vegetable stalls. 2. an individual compartment for an animal in a stable or barn, enclosed on three sides. ∎  a stable. ∎  a marked-out parking space for a vehicle. ∎  a compartment for one person in a shower room, toilet, or similar facility. 3. a fixed seat in the choir or chancel of a church, more or less enclosed at the back and sides and often canopied, typically reserved for a particular member of the clergy. 4. (stalls) Brit. the seats on the ground floor in a theater. 5. an instance of an engine, vehicle, aircraft, or boat stalling: speed must be maintained to avoid a stall and loss of control. • v. 1. [intr.] (of a motor vehicle or its engine) stop running, typically because of an overload on the engine: her car stalled at the crossroads. ∎  (of an aircraft or its pilot) reach a condition where the speed is too low to allow effective operation of the controls. ∎  Sailing have insufficient wind power in the sails to give controlled motion. ∎  [tr.] cause (an engine, vehicle, aircraft, or boat) to stall. 2. [intr.] (of a situation or process) stop making progress: his career had stalled, hers taken off. ∎  [tr.] delay, obstruct, or block the progress of (something): the government has stalled the much-needed project. ∎  speak or act in a deliberately vague way in order to gain more time to deal with a question or issue; prevaricate: she was stalling for time. ∎  [tr.] delay or divert (someone) by acting in such a way: stall him until I've had time to take a look. 3. [tr.] put or keep (an animal) in a stall, esp. in order to fatten it.

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stall, small division of a larger space, sometimes partly partitioned. The term is used for a booth for display and selling at an exhibition, for a compartment in a stable or kennel, or, in England, for the forward seats in a theater orchestra. In a church or cathedral the stalls are the fixed seats built in rows along the sides of the chancel and used by the clergy and choir. They formed part of the church furniture at an early period when the officiating clergy had increased in number. At first movable seats, they later became an architectural feature. The choir stalls may be arranged in a single tier or in several tiers, one behind another. The prayer rest for each stall is formed by the back of the one preceding it. Each seat folds back to give space for kneeling or standing, and the miserere or projecting corbel upon its under surface then furnishes a rest for the priest in the long periods of standing. In the medieval stalls the miserere was carved with scenes from everyday life or with fabulous animal forms, called misericords. From the 14th cent. onward the stalls became objects of the woodcarver's limitless skill, with high, traceried backs and sculptured arms. The uppermost tier was often crowned by high gables or by canopies of richest tabernacle work, supported on colonnettes and terminating in spires. The magnificent stalls (c.1530) in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, assigned to the use of the Knights of the Garter, are of this kind.

See M. D. Anderson, Misericords (1954).

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stallall, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), fall, forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl •carryall • blackball • handball •patball • hardball • netball • baseball •paintball • speedball • heelball •meatball • stickball • pinball • spitball •racquetball • basketball • volleyball •eyeball, highball •oddball • softball • mothball •korfball • cornball •lowball, no-ball, snowball •goalball •cueball, screwball •goofball • stoolball • football •puffball • punchball • fireball •rollerball • cannonball • butterball •catchall • bradawl • holdall • Goodall

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1. Fixed seat in a chancel or choir, one of a number, generally elevated, enclosed at the back and sides, arranged in rows on the north and south sides, and often, in grander churches, surmounted by lofty canopies of tabernacle-work. Seats were often hinged and had misericords on the underside. In larger churches the choir-stalls returned at the west end of each row, parallel to the pulpitum or choir-screen.

2. Theatre-seat in the part of the parquet nearest the stage (orches-tra-stalls).

3. Division in a stable equipped with facilities for feeding and drainage.


F. Bond (1910, 1912, 1913, 1916);
J. Parker (1850)

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A. †have one's abode;

B. †install;

C. put (an animal) in a stall XIV; †assign, fix;

D. come or bring to a stand XV. of mixed orig.; partly (i) — OF. estaler stop, sit in choir, f. estal (see STALL1), (ii) f. STALL1, and (iii) aphetic of INSTALL

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stall1 †place, position; division in stable or shed OE.; each of a row of seats in a choir; board in front of a shop for the sale of goods, booth, stand XIV; sheath for the finger, etc. XV (finger-stall). OE. steall = (M)Du., OHG. stal (G. stall), ON. stallr pedestal, stall for a horse :- Gmc. *stallaz, prob. :- *staðlaz, f. *sta- STAND. In ME. partly — OF. estal (mod. étal) place, stall in church, etc., of Gmc. orig