Stonewall, which is the Word of the Day for Wednesday, July 6, 2011 is an interesting word! For although its meaning is derived from what a stone wall does, it is not a literal stone wall itself!
No, while a stone wall literally blocks or obstructs someone’s passage physically, to stonewall means to metaphorically but also practically, block or stymie someone’s progress as the following 3 definitions show:
1. To block, stall, or resist intentionally.
2. In cricket, to play a defensive game, as by persistently blocking the ball instead of batting it for distance and runs.
3. To filibuster.
Now to those unfamiliar with this American word of filibuster, it means roughly the same thing as stonewall but in a more specific way. Such as:
a. The use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favoured or to force a decision against the will of the majority.
b. An exceptionally long speech, as one lasting for a day or days, or a series of such speeches to accomplish this purpose. “
So you see, both words, Stonewall and Filibuster, mean the exact same thing.
And as we often see in life itself, both words and their usage, can either be good or bad, depending on when, how and why you use them.
In cricket and politics (and many other things), it can help your side to win. But in politics in particular, just because your side wins, doesn’t mean it is right or in the best interests of all others either. So by all means Stonewall and filibuster where and when necessary, but do make sure before you start, that it really is necessary and in the best interests of all concerned, and not just in the best interest of your own little group! What say you?