Main definitions of stale in English

: stale1stale2

stale1

adjective

  • 1(of food) no longer fresh and pleasant to eat; hard, musty, or dry:

    ‘stale bread’
    • ‘The Nolans live on all the different foods that Katie makes from stale bread.’
    • ‘And, even though he had a job, her son was sometimes forced to eat baked beans on stale bread because he could not afford to buy a fresh loaf.’
    • ‘We finally make it to the park, loaves of stale bread spilling out of the plastic bags ready to nourish the ducks.’
    • ‘And, save for hard, stale cookies and bars in health food stores, carob was scarce outside my own kitchen.’
    • ‘I want you to individually hand-dunk each cube of stale bread into the garlic-infused olive oil.’
    • ‘This then simmers for half an hour before being baked for an hour in a pan layered with very stale bread, Gruyere cheese, and the onion soup mixture.’
    • ‘He had spent a restless night on a hard cot, with nothing but stale bread and ale to wake him up in the morning.’
    • ‘Breakfast is always the same: instant oatmeal, coffee, and stale biscuits.’
    • ‘Classic summer pudding is made with stale bread but it is much better made with store bought pound cake or brioche.’
    • ‘Large pots, merciless heat and a few decrepit plastic chairs and buckets fill her small tent, while bits of stale food cover the floor.’
    • ‘They don't mind, since without those leftovers they would either starve or be rummaging in garbage dumps for stale food scraps.’
    • ‘Sometimes the dough is stale and impossible to roll out.’
    • ‘Shopping centres, cinemas, high streets, motorways, schools - it seems that no matter where you go, greasy food and stale buns are increasingly on the menu.’
    • ‘Breakfast - a hunk of stale bread, a cup of sweet, sticky tea and a bowl of watery soup - was pushed through the bars of his cell, but he could eat nothing.’
    • ‘‘Very well,’ she said taking the bread back and slowly sinking her teeth into the stale crust.’
    • ‘Just cut off the crusts of some slightly stale bread, and whiz the bread in a food processor.’
    • ‘Never add food to a dish that has old food in it; throw the stale food out, wash the dish and replenish it with fresh food.’
    • ‘Crusts of stale bread which would otherwise have been thrown out were left on the bridges, to be seized quickly by the diving birds.’
    • ‘The next morning, our hopes were further smothered as our complimentary ‘breakfast’ consisted of a stale bun and a cup of milk.’
    • ‘I felt a little embarrassed; my kitchen was full of stale food.’
    dry, dried out, hard, hardened, old, past its best, past its sell-by date
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 No longer new and interesting or exciting:
      ‘their marriage had gone stale’
      • ‘Seriously, TV news may have been stale in the old days, but it was also respected.’
      • ‘The same approach over and over can become stale and boring for the students as well as their art teacher.’
      • ‘Yes I know you thought this matter was stale news but not for those who understand the ramifications for our democracy.’
      • ‘He quotes five passages of bad English, in all of which he finds two common qualities: stale imagery and lack of precision.’
      • ‘Even though I'm hearing it for the first time, it seems like stale news.’
      • ‘As played by Jack Nicholson, he's a newly retired insurance actuary whose wife - in a stale, humdrum marriage - suddenly drops dead.’
      • ‘Indoor gardens can transform a stale room into a vibrant living space.’
      • ‘Max is very unhappy with the stale, dull, boring, routine life and wife; he feels they've played it too safe and he needs a little danger in his life.’
      • ‘Yet far from being stale, her character comes across with freshness and believability.’
      • ‘They were energetic and played an interesting style of music, but I found it very boring and stale.’
      • ‘I limp down the street to sweet black coffee where the morning news is old news by now and stale headlines trickle in the city with a heart of gold in a world at war in a laid-back state.’
      • ‘In the euphoria that surrounds the so-called mainstream, unemployment is stale news.’
      • ‘Director, Eisner, deserves credit, too, for delivering a film that seems fresh and exciting, rather than stale and formulaic.’
      • ‘Training programs get stale and boring after about a month of consistent workouts.’
      • ‘You can enjoy this formula for a while - it does not really matter which bands you first became interested in, any will do - but it becomes stale.’
      • ‘The difficulties lie more in a plot that drags and characterizations that are rather stale.’
      • ‘Circus acts have grown so mundane, stale and outdated that animal acts are now the only way of attracting the publics' attention.’
      • ‘The events of that day had given this stale slogan a vibrating urgency.’
      • ‘Youthful energy can make stale old artistic endeavours exciting.’
      • ‘News cycles are much shorter and the film will appear stale if released six months later elsewhere.’
      hackneyed, tired, worn out, overworked, threadbare, warmed-up, banal, trite, stock, stereotyped, clichéd, run-of-the-mill, commonplace, platitudinous, unoriginal, derivative, unimaginative, uninspired, flat
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2[predicative] (of a person) no longer able to perform well or creatively because of having done something for too long:
      ‘a top executive tends to get stale’
      • ‘I won't defend him because I think he's stale and isn't half the wrestler he once was.’
      • ‘Simply, Le Guen believes every coach has a shelf-life of three or four years at any one club before he grows stale and people turn against him.’
      • ‘‘After three years as a mayor you tend to become a bit stale,’ Mr Windsor said.’
      • ‘It didn't send its green reporters to war, nor did it leave its stale reporters at home.’
      • ‘For the past decade we've been getting 100 points per year but we thought that our team had become a little stale.’
      • ‘Even if you love what you're doing, it's almost inevitable that at some point you'll feel a little stale.’
      • ‘Agreeing with the five years in office rule, he admits to feeling a trifle stale in the last few terms.’
      • ‘‘I'd like to be able to pull back from the business before I get stale and grumpy,’ she said.’
      • ‘I think you need that as a player, you do need new challenges, new people to learn from because you can go a bit stale.’
      • ‘Originally, Kye was way more hotter in my mind, but when I wrote him, he turned into a worry-wart with a stale personality.’
      • ‘While his on-air persona should not grow stale, Mr. McMahon is not the character he used to be.’
    3. 1.3 (of a cheque or legal claim) invalid because out of date:
      ‘justifications for adverse possession go beyond stale claims’
      • ‘For example, it is frequently said that the doctrine is an embodiment of the policy that defendants should be protected from stale claims and that claimants should not sleep on their rights.’
      • ‘The second defendants have had to deal with stale claims and have been handicapped by the absence of potentially relevant documents after the warehouse fire.’
      • ‘By contrast in the present case, the defendants are faced with a truly stale claim first made upon them five years after the event.’
      • ‘As I said at the outset of this judgment, the whole purpose of the Limitation Act is to ensure that claims are litigated promptly and that stale claims should be discouraged.’
      • ‘The claim is very stale, but Mr Justice Ian Kennedy said in 1995 that the delays since 1993 were not the fault of either party.’
      • ‘The committee was satisfied that sufficient remedies were available through the courts to protect traders from stale claims.’
      • ‘The courts should not be clogged with stale cases and parties should know that.’
      • ‘The makeweight argument worries about stale claims and evidence.’
      • ‘Counsel for the 1986 Trustee submits that the claims are stale, speculative, defensible and likely to fail.’

verb

  • Make or become stale:

    [no object] ‘she would cut up yesterday's leftover bread, staling now’
    • ‘The beans are then roasted and they are packaged in vac-packs to stop the air staling the product.’
    • ‘As baguettes stale quickly, several batches are made daily.’
    • ‘Also, barley breads stale quickly, because they lack the water-retaining powers of the gluten network in wheat or the natural gums in rye.’
    • ‘We ate what food remained: staling bread, hard cheese, nuts, edible roots and plants - and slept beneath the stars despite the cold.’
    • ‘And after a while, after the novelty has worn off and the newness stales, this once secret entity becomes common, and reluctantly accepted.’
    • ‘Having live yeast in the cask ensures freshness because the ongoing fermentation helps to eliminate staling products that appear and the fresh hops ensure a vigorous hop flavour.’
    • ‘If coffee beans are ground and exposed to air, they will begin to stale within the hour.’
    • ‘Dixon liked and revered him for his air of detesting everything that presented itself to his senses, and of not meaning to let this detestation become staled by custom.’
    • ‘Firm flesh is a good indicator - flesh that appears to be separating into flakes is beginning to stale.’
    • ‘In bread applications, whey proteins that are chemically bound and interacting with starch could reduce the extent of staling during bread storage.’
    • ‘"Age cannot wither her not custom stale her infinite variety " said Shakespeare of his heroine Cleopatra.’
    • ‘It's short, spunky, catchy, and, surprisingly for a lot of pop bands in this age, doesn't stale after repeated listens.’
    • ‘Back in our world, custom has perhaps staled Shakespeare's infinite variety a bit.’
    • ‘As Evelyn Waugh says on the back of all the Penguin editions, ‘Mr Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale.’’
    • ‘They're efficient bursts of less-is-more rock that ride riffs hard then cut out right before they stale.’
    • ‘This performance hasn't staled or faded into obsolescence.’

Origin

Middle English (describing beer in the sense ‘clear from long standing, strong’): probably from Anglo-Norman French and Old French, from estaler to halt; compare with the verb stall.

Pronunciation:

stale

/steɪl/

Main definitions of stale in English

: stale1stale2

stale2

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of an animal, especially a horse) urinate:

    ‘the horse staled while he was riding’
    • ‘The information obtained from the owner was, that a month ago he perceived that the horse staled very much, but he attributed it to the oats being a little mildewed.’
    • ‘But nervousness will likewise do it; fright, or anxiety of almost any kind, will make a horse stale inordinately.’

Origin

Late Middle English: perhaps from Old French estaler come to a stand, halt (compare with stale).

Pronunciation:

stale

/steɪl/