\ 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
6 : stakes race usually used in plural 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
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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of stake in a Sentence

Noun Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. a poker game with high stakes The stakes are too high. Verb 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 At stake is its generous support for 123 tenure-track faculty like Cole, who investigates cancer and DNA repair. Jocelyn Kaiser, Science | AAAS, "Texas voters approve second life for state cancer funding agency," 6 Nov. 2019 With a championship at stake, details were scarce in the lead up to the game. Michael Casagrande |, al, "History of Alabama football’s intersection with US presidents," 6 Nov. 2019 Less than one-third of registered voters in Kentucky are expected to turn out on Election Day with statewide offices including the governorship at stake, according to the secretary of state's most recent estimate. Chris Kenning, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky lawmakers announce bills to restore voting rights and increase voter access," 1 Nov. 2019 But there’s more at stake than bowl eligibility for both teams. Khobi Price,, "Bowl eligibility, Conference USA East Division race at stake in FAU vs. Western Kentucky," 1 Nov. 2019 With the Little Brown Jug at stake, the rivalry matchup attracted 50 million viewers on television and a record crowd of 65,130 in the stands. Bulletin Board, Twin Cities, "Sunday Bulletin Board: When her dad and her brother went out to hunt pheasants, what was her job?," 27 Oct. 2019 At stake is Botswana’s glowing reputation for democracy and prosperity. James Kirby, Quartz Africa, "The story behind Botswana’s closest-ever election and how its consequences will play out," 26 Oct. 2019 The reality is that bisexual and pansexual people — who are the largest segment of the LGBTQ+ community — have just as much at stake. Amber Heard, Teen Vogue, "Amber Heard: SCOTUS Workplace Discrimination Cases Threaten All LGBTQ+ People," 24 Oct. 2019 On Thursday, the game was just as even well into the second half with both teams generating scoring chances and both defenses holding impressively strong with so much at stake. Glenn Graham,, "Baylee DeSmit’s late goal sends No. 2 McDonogh past No 1 Spalding, 1-0, for first place in the IAAM A Conference girls soccer," 24 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Coinbase is the first major exchange to open up staking to all US customers. Wired, "Coinbase Wants to Pay Interest on Crypto Coins, Sort Of," 6 Nov. 2019 Historically, for immigrants, a lot of them had to go through criminality because that was the only thing offered to them in order to be able to stake their claim and make way for a second and third generation of doctors and lawyers. Derek Lawrence,, "Forest Whitaker previews the 'education of Bumpy Johnson' in Godfather of Harlem," 24 Sep. 2019 Rumblings about an international scramble to stake new claims in the warming Arctic and on its vast trove of untapped resources had prompted politicians in Ottawa to promise the rangers better gear and funds to recruit more volunteers. Neil Shea, National Geographic, "A thawing Arctic is heating up a new Cold War," 21 Aug. 2019 For Terrell, who has staked his career on Georgian wines, the question is not whether Georgia can grow and maintain quality. Esther Mobley,, "Yes, Georgian wine is worth the hype and yes, you should be drinking it," 15 Aug. 2019 This loophole creates the potential for a race to stake claims on some of the moon's highest-value real estate. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "The New Scramble for the Moon," 26 June 2019 The special paints an intimate portrait of a woman seeking to stake her own claim in the world and figure out the next chapter of her life, all while dating again and battling a constant crush of paparazzi. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "5 Things You Might Not Know About Princess Diana, According to a New Documentary," 8 May 2017 Outside, a white rectangular cardboard sign staked low to the ground is the only indication one of the buzziest brands in the bike world can be found inside. oregonlive, "WaveCel bursts onto the bike scene, expands into Wilsonville facility," 16 Sep. 2019 Hendricks received a break Aug. 28 in New York when the Cubs staked him to a 10-1 lead after 2½ innings against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks says an aggressive game plan is the key to reversing his struggles on the road," 9 Sep. 2019

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

12 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for stake

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

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More Definitions for stake


How to pronounce stake (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on stake

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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