\ ˈstāk How to pronounce stake (audio) \

Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed piece of wood or other material driven or to be driven into the ground as a marker or support
2a : a post to which a person is bound for execution by burning
b : execution by burning at a stake
3a : something that is staked for gain or loss
b : the prize in a contest
c : an interest or share in an undertaking or enterprise
4 : a Mormon territorial jurisdiction comprising a group of wards
5 : grubstake
6 : stakes race usually used in pl. but singular or plural in construction
at stake
: at issue : in jeopardy


staked; staking

Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark the limits of by or as if by stakes
2 : to tether to a stake
3 : bet, wager
4 : to fasten up or support (something, such as a plant) with stakes
5 : to back financially
6 : grubstake
stake a claim
: to assert a title or right to something by or as if by placing stakes usually to satisfy a legal requirement

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Synonyms & Antonyms for stake

Synonyms: Noun

claim, interest, share

Synonyms: Verb

bankroll, capitalize, endow, finance, fund, subsidize, underwrite

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of stake in a Sentence


Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. a poker game with high stakes The stakes are too high.


She staked the tomatoes to keep them from falling over. the actor staked the entire production of the film with his own money
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That has raised the stakes for every game under development and has increased the risk if even one of them slows down or misfires. Dan Gallagher, WSJ, "‘Fortnite’ Effect: The Game Never Ends," 15 Feb. 2019 The all-cash deal values Juul at $38 billion, and injects the company with a fresh $12.8 billion in exchange for a 35 percent stake. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Wealth managers and charities are looking forward to an IPO-rich 2019," 21 Dec. 2018 Rambin and her fellow actors are motivating each other to finally get their long-gestating projects off the ground by raising the stakes. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, "Leven Rambin Won't Let Her Moment Pass Her By," 28 Sep. 2018 Delta also has a five percent stake in Clear, the biometric security platform best known for allowing travelers (who pay) to jump the airport security line. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Delta to Launch First Biometric Terminal in the U.S. at World's Busiest Airport," 20 Sep. 2018 But the vision of human beings riding in private rockets raises the stakes. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Cape Canaveral's Legendary Launchpad Is Ready for Astronauts Once More," 16 Aug. 2018 Suddenly the stakes were higher, and the power of the presidency was enormous. Sean Illing, Vox, "Can the 25th Amendment be invoked to remove Trump from office? I asked one of its authors.," 14 Feb. 2019 The stakes are very high: This unforced error could give President Trump his best chance to win re-election in 2020. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Medicare for All Is a Trap," 12 Feb. 2019 After a divisive start that had the world talking, some in favor of his youth-centric vision, others vehemently against it, the stakes are high for his Fall 2019 collection. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "11 Reasons to Be Excited About The Year in Fashion," 4 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Abrams, meanwhile, staked her campaign on energizing liberal voters, many of them minorities who often skipped elections, with a platform that emphasized new gun restrictions, the expansion of Medicaid and fewer obstacles to voting. Tamar Hallerman, The Seattle Times, "‘Terrified’ Stacey Abrams prepares to counterpunch Trump’s State of Union," 5 Feb. 2019 Taken together, the sartorial choices of these two White House women staked a sartorial claim — in direct opposition to the resistance. Amy Carleton,, "Melania Trump speaks the language of fashion. She knows what she was saying," 22 June 2018 Once a footwear choice based solely on function and ease, sneakers have firmly staked their claim in the fashion world — not just for women but for men as well. Sari Anne Tuschman,, "Summer style: Designer sneakers continue to be a major status symbol for the fashion-minded shopper," 21 June 2018 Maphumulo, who recently took the stage at Sónar Festival in Barcelona, has been a household name and one of the most prominent electronic music producers in Africa for the last decade, and is now staking his claim in the States. E.r. Pulgar, Billboard, "Black Coffee on His 'Sonar 25' Comp & Plans for Creating an Arts School In Johannesburg With Virgil Abloh," 20 June 2018 Magic Mountain still stakes its reputation on the quality of its coasters and, with 14 of them, Six Flags remains the king of the thrill. Scott Craven, azcentral, "New this summer at Disneyland, Universal Studios and other SoCal theme parks," 7 June 2018 Both clubs could stake a claim to having played the better match, with Cincinnati taking more shots (15 versus 10) and Minnesota locking on target more often (4-2 in terms of shots-on-goal). Patrick Brennan,, "Minnesota United FC prevails in PKs over FC Cincinnati in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup," 6 June 2018 The paintings were his way of staking a claim on art history, with visual clues that amount to Whitten’s comments upon artworks by such leading 20th-century masters as Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Gerhard Richter. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "In Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit, Jack Whitten’s sculptures explore the life of the renowned painter," 20 Apr. 2018 Junior Webelos Pack #515 led the work in staking eight signs throughout the popular park in the hills above Descanso Gardens, reminding visitors to stay on the marked trails. Carol Cormaci,, "City, Trails Council and Junior Webelos undertake community service project in Cherry Canyon," 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stake.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of stake


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stake


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

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Statistics for stake

Last Updated

5 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for stake

The first known use of stake was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for stake



English Language Learners Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pointed stick or post that is pushed into the ground especially to mark a place or to support something
: a post that a person was tied to and burned on in the past as a form of punishment
: something (such as money) that you could win or lose in a game, contest, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

: to risk the loss of (something, such as money)
: to support (something, such as a plant) with stakes


\ ˈstāk How to pronounce stake (audio) \

Kids Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed piece (as of wood) that is driven into the ground as a marker or a support for something tent stakes A sign was nailed to a stake.
2 : a post to which a person is tied to be put to death by burning
3 : something that is put up to be won or lost in gambling They play cards for high stakes.
4 : the prize in a contest
5 : share entry 1 sense 1, interest She owns a stake in the business.
at stake
: in a position to be lost if something goes wrong If you miss the deadline, your job is at stake.


staked; staking

Kids Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : bet entry 2 sense 1 I've staked my reputation on the new plan.
2 : to mark the limits of by stakes They staked out the yard.
3 : to fasten or support (as plants) with stakes
4 : to give money to in order to help (as with a project)



Legal Definition of stake

1 : the subject matter (as property or an obligation) of an interpleader
2 : an interest or share in an especially commercial undertaking

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More from Merriam-Webster on stake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stake

Spanish Central: Translation of stake

Nglish: Translation of stake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stake for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stake

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