\ ˈstāk \

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

As in any high stakes fight there’ll be winners and losers. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "No one said cutting the cord would be easy," 30 June 2018 And the highest-stakes fight still looms: In two weeks, the U.S. is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods. NBC News, "Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight," 22 June 2018 And the highest-stakes fight still looms: In two weeks, the United States is to start taxing $34 billion in Chinese goods. Paul Wiseman,, "Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight," 22 June 2018 This was high-decibel, high-stakes, high-quality tennis between two of the greats right from the get-go, beginning with an 18-point, six-deuce game that last 15 minutes and felt truly pivotal. Howard Fendrich,, "Novak Djokovic outlasts Rafael Nadal in five sets to reach fifth Wimbledon final," 14 July 2018 One of the surprises of the tournament, Manion — described as a 35-year-old small stakes, online-poker grinder by the World Series of Poker’s own website — has excelled in what is his first WSOP tournament. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Meet the Michiganders who made World Series of Poker final table," 13 July 2018 But Disney and Fox are determined to keep their deal together — Murdoch has favored Disney in negotiations over the sale of 21st Century Fox assets, including Fox’s stake in Sky, to Disney. Bob Fernandez,, "Comcast boosts Sky bid to $34M, topping Fox offer in global standoff," 11 July 2018 Joss Whedon brought the exact right touch to the film — big villains, big stakes, plenty of humor. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "We rank every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from worst to best," 6 July 2018 More Democratic City Council members are questioning whether Charlotte should host the 2020 Republican National Convention, raising the possibility of a high-stakes, politically charged vote this month on whether to accept the convention. Steve Harrison And Jim Morrill, charlotteobserver, "As more Democrats question RNC, chances rise for Charlotte City Council to reject event," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Woofter drove over, and the group staked it out until police showed up. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage car thieves are targeting Subarus. Case in point: His was stolen twice in one week.," 5 July 2018 Conservatives have staked a louder claim to the term; some say patriotism has been appropriated by Southern white men. Doug Struck, The Christian Science Monitor, "As Americans celebrate Independence Day, what does it mean to be a patriot?," 2 July 2018 Police caught one man and were searching for another after staking them out in an ongoing investigation, according to the Houston Police Department. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "HPD detains one in undercover chase," 13 June 2018 Playing on the road Wednesday afternoon against Downey in a CIF Southern Section Division III wild-card game, the Indians scored a run in the top of the first inning to stake themselves to an early lead. Jeff Tully,, "Burroughs baseball out hits Downey, but is plagued by errors in playoff loss," 17 May 2018 And the biotech execs staking their claims in Crispr’s backend systems have read their Silicon Valley history. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Biology Will Be the Next Great Computing Platform," 3 May 2018 Don Sheldon—a pioneering Alaskan mountain pilot who explored and mapped much of the region—staked his claim to five acres of land under the Homestead Act in the 1950s, before Alaska had even become a state. Carey Jones, Vogue, "On a Remote Glacier in the Middle of Alaska, I Learned the Magic of Disconnecting," 12 July 2018 Matt Dornbos and Matt Zahora had sacrifice flies in the first inning to stake St. Laurence to a 2-0 lead. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Max-imum effort: Max Engstrom settles down after the first inning in pitching St. Laurence past St. Rita," 11 July 2018 The day started well before an announced crowd of 12,998, with Ariana Washington staking them to second place and eight team points with a strong anchor leg of the 4x100. Ken Goe,, "USC claims the NCAA women's track championship as the Oregon Ducks wilt in the rain," 9 June 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

17 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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.



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 \

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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Comments on stake

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