stalemate

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stale·mate / ˈstālˌmāt/ • n. Chess a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check. ∎  a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible: the war had again reached stalemate. • v. [tr.] bring to or cause to reach stalemate: [as adj.] (stalemated) the currently stalemated peace talks.

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stalemate in chess, a position counting as a draw, in which a player is not in check but cannot move except into check. The word comes (in the mid 18th century) from obsolete stale (from Anglo-Norman French estale ‘position’, from estaler ‘be placed’), + mate.

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stalemate (in chess) position in which the player has no allowable move open to him, but is not in check. XVIII f. synon. †stale (XV–XVII), prob. — AN. estale position, f. estaler be placed, STALL2; see MATE2
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