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verb \ˈstēl\

Simple Definition of steal

  • : to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal

  • : to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission

  • : to wrongly take and use (another person's idea, words, etc.)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of steal

stole play \ˈstōl\ stolen play \ˈstō-lən\ stealing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice

  3. 2 :  to come or go secretly, unobtrusively, gradually, or unexpectedly

  4. 3 :  to steal or attempt to steal a base

  5. transitive verb
  6. 1a :  to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully <stole a car>b :  to take away by force or unjust means <they've stolen our liberty>c :  to take surreptitiously or without permission <steal a kiss>d :  to appropriate to oneself or beyond one's proper share :  make oneself the focus of <steal the show>

  7. 2a :  to move, convey, or introduce secretly :  smuggleb :  to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner <steal a visit>

  8. 3a :  to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring <a basketball player adept at stealing the ball> <stole the election>b of a base runner :  to reach (a base) safely solely by running and usually catching the opposing team off guard

stealable play \ˈstē-lə-bəl\ adjective
stealer noun
steal a march on
  1. :  to gain an advantage on unobserved

steal one's thunder
  1. :  to grab attention from another especially by anticipating an idea, plan, or presentation; also :  to claim credit for another's idea

Examples of steal in a sentence

  1. They stole thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry from the store.

  2. He discovered that his car had been stolen.

  3. The store manager accused the boy of stealing.

  4. I stole a cookie from the cookie jar.

  5. They stole our best pitcher away from our team.

  6. His outstanding performance stole the show.

Origin of steal

Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan; akin to Old High German stelan to steal

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of steal

steal, pilfer, filch, purloin mean to take from another without right or without detection. steal may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to intangibles as well as material things <steal jewels> <stole a look at the gifts>. pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts <pilfered from his employer>. filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously <filched an apple from the tray>. purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes <printed a purloined document>.




Simple Definition of steal

  • : something that is being sold at a low price

  • baseball : the act of stealing a base

  • sports : the act of taking the ball, puck, etc., from another player

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of steal

  1. 1 :  the act or an instance of stealing

  2. 2 :  a fraudulent or questionable political deal

  3. 3 :  bargain 2 <it's a steal at that price>

Examples of steal in a sentence

  1. This car is a steal at only $5,000.

  2. He has 40 steals this season.

  3. a nifty steal by the defender

Circa 1825

First Known Use of steal

circa 1825

STEAL Defined for Kids



verb \ˈstēl\

Definition of steal for Students

stole \ˈstōl\stolen \ˈstō-lən\stealing

  1. 1 :  to take and carry away (something that belongs to another person) without permission and with the intention of keeping

  2. 2 :  to come or go quietly or secretly <She stole out of the room.>

  3. 3 :  to draw attention away from others <The puppy stole the show.>

  4. 4 :  to take or get secretly or in a tricky way <He stole a nap.>

  5. 5 :  to reach the next base safely in baseball by running to it when the ball has not been hit in play

  6. 6 :  to take (as a ball or puck) from another player

  7. 7 :  to take something from a situation




Definition of steal for Students

  1. 1 :  the act or an instance of stealing <He leads the team in steals.>

  2. 2 :  1bargain 2 <At 20 dollars, these boots were a steal.>

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈstēl\

Medical Definition of steal

  1. :  abnormal circulation characterized by deviation (as through collateral vessels or by backward flow) of blood to tissues where the normal flow of blood has been cut off by occlusion of an artery <subclavian steal> <coronary steal>

Law Dictionary


transitive verb

Legal Definition of steal


  1. :  to take or appropriate without right or consent and with intent to keep or make use of — see also robbery, theft

Origin of steal

Old English stelan

Seen and Heard

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to expose to danger or risk

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