\ 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

This second trailer expounds a bit more on what, precisely, is at stake. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Spock smiles in the face of danger in new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery S2," 13 Dec. 2018 And while inviting 330 people to a tropical island setting might seem frivolous, there’s some serious money and technology at stake. Sean Hollister, The Verge, "5G is weeks away — and Tuesday marks its first real test," 30 Nov. 2018 Time was when witches were burned at the stake—or, at the very least, relegated to the margins of society. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Modern Woman Is Embracing Her Inner Witch," 12 Nov. 2018 Given that your vision is at stake, the simple and safe choice is to wear them. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Safety Glasses To Protect Your Peepers," 6 Nov. 2018 Teenagers need to test boundaries and sow a few wild oats; when that teenager is a witch, the stakes are a bit higher. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 18 Dec. 2018 But some of them—deeply embedded in Germany’s manufacturing supply chains—had a lot at stake in defending the single market. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Behind the Brexit Chaos, a Faulty U.K. Negotiating Strategy," 14 Dec. 2018 The Voice has entered the final phase of the competition and the stakes are high as the fate of the contestants now falls in the hands of their fans. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Voice' Coach Kelly Clarkson Addresses the Comeback Stage Controversy," 27 Nov. 2018 Because the stakes were so high and the world was so dangerous and people were dying left, right, and center. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "8 Questions That Need To Be Answered In 'Legacies' Season 1," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Chacín and Chicago starter James Shields were locked in a pitchers' duel for Chacín's entire outing, with Erik Kratz's third-inning homer staking the Brewers to a tenuous 1-0 lead. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jhoulys Chacín continues to roll for the Brewers," 2 June 2018 So, definitely going to get canceled — except that Kevin Reilly kind of stakes his reputation as an executive [on it]. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The 2 decisions — and 1 happy accident — that made The Office a hit," 15 Dec. 2018 After staking its reputation on diesel, the German automaker has conducted a volte face; electricity is now the future. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "We’ve driven Audi’s first proper electric car, the 2019 e-tron SUV," 7 Dec. 2018 However, as legislators around the world decide that enough is enough, game publishers may have to think again before staking their profits on a game of chance. James Vincent, The Verge, "Loot box crackdown forces Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts games out of Belgium," 23 Nov. 2018 Here the Senate stakes come into sharp relief, as Democrats would refuse to confirm any Federalist Society nominee. • Health care. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Consequential Congress," 1 Nov. 2018 Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images Brett Kavanaugh’s narrow confirmation on Saturday sets up huge Supreme Court stakes for the 2020 presidential election. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle will make the Supreme Court a pivotal issue in 2018 — and 2020.," 7 Oct. 2018 Beltre milestone tracker — Adrian Beltre's three-run homer in the third inning staked the Rangers with a 5-0 lead. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Rangers Reaction: Bartolo Colon grinds his way to historic win," 19 June 2018 Abrams has staked her campaign on energizing 800,000 left-leaning voters, many of whom are minorities, who rarely cast ballots. Greg Bluestein, ajc, "Today is the last day of early voting in Georgia: Catch up on the governor’s race.," 18 May 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

8 Jan 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

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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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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