tr.v. sty·mied, sty·mie·ing, sty·mies
To be an obstacle to; prevent the advancement or success of; thwart or stump: weather that stymied attempts to locate the missing hikers; a math problem that stymied half the class.
1. An obstacle or obstruction.
2. Sports A situation in golf in which an opponent's ball obstructs the line of play of one's own ball on the putting green.
[Originally, a golf ball obstructing one's line of play; perhaps akin to Scots stymie, person with poor vision (perhaps from styme, in to se nocht ane styme, not to see a glimmer (of something)).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.