verb1 : to be uncooperative, obstructive, or evasive 2 : to refuse to comply or cooperate with
The company’s executives stonewalled the investigation at every turn.
“I think they’re stonewalling because there seems to be a lack of leadership on their side as to how to respond to these serious allegations.” — Ivo Labar, quoted in a column by Heather Knight in the San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 2014
Did you know?
The earliest English “stonewalls” were literal; they were walls made from stone. Because a stone wall can be difficult to surmount, English speakers began using “stonewall” figuratively for things or people who either were persistent and enduring or who presented an obstacle as formidable as a stone wall. (Those figurative senses earned American Confederate Civil War General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson his nickname.) Then, in the late 1800s, cricket players began using “stonewall” as a verb in reference to a batter’s defensive blocking of balls. Around the same time, “stonewall” found its way into political slang as a synonym of “filibuster.” There is also a chiefly British sense of “to engage in obstructive parliamentary debate or delaying tactics.”