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noun \ˈstāk\

Simple Definition of stake

  • : a pointed stick or post that is pushed into the ground especially to mark a place or to support something

  • the stake : a post that a person was tied to and burned on in the past as a form of punishment

  • stakes : something (such as money) that you could win or lose in a game, contest, etc.

Full Definition of stake

  1. 1 :  a pointed piece of wood or other material driven or to be driven into the ground as a marker or support

  2. 2a :  a post to which a person is bound for execution by burningb :  execution by burning at a stake

  3. 3a :  something that is staked for gain or lossb :  the prize in a contestc :  an interest or share in an undertaking or enterprise

  4. 4 :  a Mormon territorial jurisdiction comprising a group of wards

  5. 5 :  grubstake

  6. 6 :  stakes race —usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction

at stake
  1. :  at issue :  in jeopardy

Examples of stake

  1. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

  2. a poker game with high stakes

  3. The stakes are too high.

Origin of stake

Middle English, from Old English staca; akin to Middle Low German stake pole, and perhaps to Latin tignum beam

First Known Use: before 12th century



transitive verb

Simple Definition of stake

  • : to risk the loss of (something, such as money)

  • : to support (something, such as a plant) with stakes

Full Definition of stake


  1. 1 :  to mark the limits of by or as if by stakes

  2. 2 :  to tether to a stake

  3. 3 :  bet, wager

  4. 4 :  to fasten up or support (as plants) with stakes

  5. 5 :  to back financially

  6. 6 :  grubstake

stake a claim
  1. :  to assert a title or right to something by or as if by placing stakes usually to satisfy a legal requirement

Examples of stake

  1. She staked the tomatoes to keep them from falling over.

  2. <the actor staked the entire production of the film with his own money>

14th Century

First Known Use of stake

14th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up stake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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