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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STIMIE, n., v. Also stymie, stimy, steimy, and ¶styme-. [′stəimi]

I. n. A shot in golf by which one's ball lands on the green not less than six inches from one's opponent's in a direct line between it and the hole so as to obstruct his putt. Adopted in St. Eng. in the form stymie but abolished from the rules of the game from 1952. Combs. and phr. stime-lofting, the attempt by a player to make his ball leap over his opponent's obstructing ball; stimy-playing, id.; to lay a stimie, to obstruct (one's opponent) with a stimie.Edb. 1834 Rules of Golf (Clapcott 1935) 66:
With regard to Stimies the ball nearest the hole if within six inches shall be lifted.
Sc. 1857 Golfiana (1887) 172:
These clubs are handled for stimy-playing.
Sc. 1858 Chambers's Jnl. (4 Sept.) 157:
A dozen feet from the hole, on the other side of his opponent's ball . . . Cruel chance — a stimy!
Edb. 1887 W. G. Simpson Art of Golf 142:
The shortest of all approaches — styme lofting.
Sc. 1891 J. G. McPherson Golf & Golfers 19:
The iron is indispensable for short approaches, lofting bunkers, and stymies.
Sc. 1907 H. S. C. Everard Hist. R. and A. Golf Club 99:
The stimy rule was also remodelled [in 1812]: you were now allowed to lift the stimying ball anywhere upon the course, but not on the putting-green, unless the ball lay directly between the other and the hole.
Sc. 1952 Scotsman (2 Jan.):
The last player to be laid a stymie on the Old Course before the new code of rules for golf became operative yesterday.

II. v. tr. and intr. of a golf-ball (or golfer): to obstruct by lying on the green directly between the opponent's ball and the hole, to play or lie as a stimie. See i.; hence fig. to obstruct in gen., to baffle. thwart, frustrate. Now in colloq. Eng.Fif. 1857 H. B. Farnie Golfer's Manual 60:
To play by the side of the ball stimying, however closely, would throw the putt wide of the hole.
Sc. 1892 A. Lang Poet. Works (1923) II. 70:
It's aye the same in life an' gowf; I'm stimied, late an' ear'.
Sc. 1951 Scotsman (3 May):
I am seldom stymied — but then I usually putt very well.

[Orig. obscure. Connection with Stime above is not obvious.]

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"Stimie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Dec 2022 <>



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