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stale 1

adj. stal·er, stal·est
1. Having lost freshness, effervescence, or palatability: stale bread; stale air.
2. Lacking originality or spontaneity: a stale joke.
3. Ineffective or uninspired, usually from being out of practice or from having done the same thing for too long.
4. Law Legally unenforceable because of a claimant's delay in seeking enforcement.
tr. & intr.v. staled, stal·ing, stales
To make or become stale.

[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.]

stale′ly adv.
stale′ness n.

stale 2

intr.v. staled, stal·ing, stales
To urinate. Used especially of horses and camels.
The urine of certain animals, especially horses and camels.

[Middle English stalen, possibly of Low German origin; akin to Middle Low German stallen.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. As trite as the lyrics to a fifties hit —Hilma Wolitzer

    In her novel, In the Palomar Arms, Wolitzer compares the triteness of old song lyrics to what happens to the words spoken by someone once loved passionately.

  2. Felt about as fresh as an old piece of chewing gum —Mike Fredman
  3. Flat and cold as the muffins of this morning’s breakfast —Henry James

    In James’ play, Pyramus and Thisbe, this describes personality traits grown stale with overuse and familiarity.

  4. Flat as last night’s beer —Louis Untermeyer
  5. Stale as an old cigar —Wilfrid Sheed
  6. Stale as yesterday’s bread —Arthur A. Cohen
  7. (But it was all unmeaningful to us, and all the proverbs seemed stiff and) stale, like dusty labels on neglected antiquities —G. K. Chesterton
  8. Stale, like the butt of a dead cigar —Rudyard Kipling
  9. Tired as a much-told joke —Anon
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Staleness - unoriginality as a result of being dull and hackneyedstaleness - unoriginality as a result of being dull and hackneyed
unoriginality - uncreativeness due to a lack of originality
camp - something that is considered amusing not because of its originality but because of its unoriginality; "the living room was pure camp"
2.staleness - having lost purity and freshness as a consequence of aging
oldness - the opposite of youngness
moldiness, mustiness, must - the quality of smelling or tasting old or stale or mouldy
freshness - the property of being pure and fresh (as if newly made); not stale or deteriorated; "she loved the freshness of newly baked bread"; "the freshness of the air revived him"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈsteɪlnɪs] N
1. (= lack of freshness) [of cheese, butter, sweat, cigarette smoke] → lo rancio; [of air] → lo viciado; [biscuit, beer] → lo pasado; [of cake] → sequedad f, lo seco; [of bread] → lo correoso; (= hardness) → dureza f
2. (fig) [of news, joke] → lo viejo; [of person, relationship] → estancamiento m, anquilosamiento m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


(lit, of beer, water etc) → Schalheit f, → Abgestandenheit f; (of bread, biscuit)Altbackenheit f; (of taste, smell)Muffigkeit f; the staleness of the air made them sleepydie verbrauchte Luft machte sie schläfrig
(fig, of joke) → Abgedroschenheit f; the staleness of the newsdie veraltete Nachricht; he practised to the point of stalenesser übte, bis er langsam alles nur noch routinemäßig machte
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsteɪlnɪs] n (of food) → mancanza di freschezza; (of air) → pesantezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
Consider, I said, Glaucon, that even the badness of food, whether staleness, decomposition, or any other bad quality, when confined to the actual food, is not supposed to destroy the body; although, if the badness of food communicates corruption to the body, then we should say that the body has been destroyed by a corruption of itself, which is disease, brought on by this; but that the body, being one thing, can be destroyed by the badness of food, which is another, and which does not engender any natural infection-- this we shall absolutely deny?
The royal salute of British journalism thundered the announcement of Tinkler's staleness before a people prostrate on the national betting book.
We saw his grizzled mustache, the bald spot on his head, the puff-sacks under his eyes, the sagging cheeks, the heavy dewlap, the general tiredness and staleness and fatness, all the collapse and ruin of a man who had once been strong but who had lived too easily and too well.
AIDAN WALSH admits that the changes to Conor Counihan's Cork football management team were essential to avoid further staleness setting in.
But the staleness and difficulty in raising games under the same man that Steve Coppell talked about after Reading's fall from grace a few years back was never going to be an issue for these two unfancied clubs.
Sometimes there is a staleness and you need some freshness.
Without Ricardo Carvalho they are vulnerable through the middle of defence, ex-Gunner Ashley Cole isn't half the attacking force he once was, there's a staleness in the heart of midfield and if the supply lines to Didier Drogba are cut then Chelsea are going to struggle.
They are missing Martin Johnson, but he would not have been able to do anything about that staleness.
Those games meant Boylan was leading his charges into battle for the fourth time in as many weeks but there were no signs of staleness.
Ehiogu has complained of staleness and given every indication that he has no wish to see out the remaining two years of his contract.
Between the two oxidative effects, after about six months, even though the container has been hermetically sealed, sensitive public tasters detect an unattractive staleness from coffe stored too long in warehouses and on supermarket shelves before sale.
"One, because of the staleness of our league, and two because of money and three, because I don't think our big two believe we have good players."