- The definition of stale is something that is old or no longer fresh or new.
- Old bread that has gone hard is an example of something that would be described as stale.
- An idea that has become boring and overdone is an example of something that would be described as stale.
stale definition by Webster's New World
- having lost freshness; made musty, dry, bad, etc. by having been kept too long; specif.,
- flat; vapid; tasteless: stale beer
- hard and dry: said of bread, etc.
- low in oxygen content; stagnant: stale air
- having lost originality or newness; lacking in interest through familiarity or overuse; hackneyed; trite: a stale joke, stale gossip
- out of condition, ineffective, enervated, bored, etc. from either too much or too little activity
- Law having lost legal force or effect through lack of use or action, as a claim or lien
Origin: Middle English probably via Anglo-Norman ; from Old French estale, quiet, stagnant ; from Germanic an unverified form stall: for Indo-European base see still
Origin: Middle English akin to Middle Low German stal, urine ; from Indo-European base an unverified form (s)tel-, to let flow, urinate from source Classical Greek stalassein, to drip, telma, puddle
stale definition by American Heritage Dictionary
adjective stal·er, stal·est
- Having lost freshness, effervescence, or palatability: stale bread; stale air.
- Lacking originality or spontaneity: a stale joke.
- Impaired in efficacy, vigor, or spirit, as from inactivity or boredom.
- Law Having lost effectiveness or force through lack of exercise or action.
Origin: Middle English, settled, clear (used of beer or wine), probably from Old French estale, slack, settled, clear, from estaler, to come to a standstill, halt, from estal, standing place, stand, of Germanic origin; see stel- in Indo-European roots.
- staleˈly adverb
- staleˈness noun
intransitive verb staled staled, stal·ing, stales
Origin: Middle English stalen, possibly of Low German origin; akin to Middle Low German stallen.