stake·​out | \ ˈstāk-ˌau̇t How to pronounce stakeout (audio) \

Definition of stakeout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a surveillance maintained by the police of an area or a person suspected of criminal activity

stake out

staked out; staking out; stakes out

Definition of stake out (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to assign (someone, such as a police officer) to an area usually to conduct a surveillance
2 : to maintain a stakeout of
3 : to claim as one's own

Examples of stakeout in a Sentence

Noun The drug deal was witnessed during a stakeout of the building. The police were on a stakeout.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But cops hundreds of miles away were on to them thanks to a stakeout with a modern twist. James Marson, WSJ, 23 Nov. 2021 The stakeout started at 7 p.m. on Monday afternoon. Kevin T. Dugan, Curbed, 2 Nov. 2021 The stakeout also pays dividends when the team tracks down the mysterious masked man, who puts up a fight but is ultimately captured. Sara Netzley,, 28 Sep. 2021 The Hauser character’s relentlessly humiliated, until the all’s-well ending, and scenes of his character defecating in his pants while on a stakeout add the wrong sort of comic contrast. Michael Phillips,, 9 Sep. 2021 Other officers on stakeout at the complex weren’t immediately aware Brown had been shot until a resident from the complex saw the wounded detective and called 911, according to the Sheriff’s Office and court reports. oregonlive, 26 July 2021 With the specialists safe, Hu continued the stakeout with his U.S. operatives. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica, 23 July 2021 As Jessica investigates, another murder happens, and a stakeout develops between local police and the incarcerated women. Emma Rubin, Vulture, 21 June 2021 The reporters compared official records to Adams’s public statements and conducted a stakeout of Brooklyn Borough Hall, where Adams works as borough president. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, 12 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stakeout.' 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 stakeout


circa 1942, in the meaning defined above


1951, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for stakeout

Time Traveler

The first known use of stakeout was circa 1942

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Dictionary Entries Near stakeout

stake one's life on (something)


stake out

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Statistics for stakeout

Last Updated

3 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stakeout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of stakeout

: a situation in which the police secretly watch a place in order to look for illegal activity


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