Impasse refers to a situation where progress or resolution seems impossible, typically due to a deadlock or disagreement between opposing parties. It implies a state of stagnation or deadlock wherein no viable solution or compromise can be reached.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



deadlock, standstill, stalemate, gridlock, halt, snag, predicament, dilemma.


Agreement, compromise, solution, breakthrough, resolution, consensus, progress.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun impasse, impasses
Verb None
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The negotiations between the two countries reached an impasse as neither party was willing to make any concessions.

  • Despite numerous attempts at mediation, the labor dispute remains at an impasse, causing a prolonged and costly strike.

  • The political debate has hit an impasse as both sides continue to hold firm on their opposing viewpoints.

  • The impasse in the peace talks has led to a surge in violence, diminishing hopes for a peaceful resolution.


The word “impasse” originated from the French language, where the term “en pas” (meaning “in a passage”) was used to describe a state of being stuck or blocked. The prefix “im-” in “impasse” conveys a negation or lack of, indicating the absence of progress or resolution. The root of the word “impasse” comes from the French verb “passer” (meaning “to pass” or “to proceed”).

The term “impasse” is commonly used in various contexts to describe situations where progress is hindered or unable to be achieved. It often refers to a deadlock or standstill, where opposing parties cannot find a solution or compromise. In history, impasses have been encountered in various fields including politics, diplomacy, negotiations, legal disputes, and even personal relationships.

In politics and diplomacy, an impasse can occur when different ideologies clash, and neither party is willing to make concessions. This can lead to a protracted stalemate, making it difficult to reach a resolution. In legal settings, an impasse can occur during negotiations or mediation, where opposing sides fail to come to an agreement, thus requiring alternative methods like arbitration or court intervention.

The usage of “impasse” often suggests a sense of frustration, as it signifies a lack of progress or a hurdle that seems impossible to overcome. It emphasizes the need for creative thinking, compromise, or outside assistance to break the deadlock and find a way forward. In everyday language, “impasse” can be used to describe any situation where progress or resolution seems unattainable, regardless of the specific context.