Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

stall - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb     stall pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlestalling
past tensestalled
past participlestalled
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] if a vehicle or its engine stalls, or if the driver stalls it, it suddenly stops working because not enough power is reaching the engine

    The truck stalled on the hill.

    He managed to stall the car twice before finally driving away.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] mainly journalism if a process stalls, or if someone stalls it, it stops making progress

    Talks have stalled and both sides are preparing for war.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to refuse to answer or decide something in order to gain more time

    ‘Do you know who it was?’ ‘Not yet,’ I stalled.

    stall on/over:

    Each side accused the other of stalling on planned prisoner exchanges.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to make someone wait or stay somewhere in order to gain more time

      If he calls again, try to stall him until I get there.



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play