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stake·​out ˈstāk-ˌau̇t How to pronounce stakeout (audio)
: a surveillance maintained by the police of an area or a person suspected of criminal activity

stake out

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staked out; staking out; stakes out

transitive verb

: to assign (someone, such as a police officer) to an area usually to conduct a surveillance
: to maintain a stakeout of
: 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
The source, who asked for anonymity in order to speak freely, noted the GOP leader has still been walking around the Capitol for the past few months, delivering floor remarks and leading media stakeouts. Phillip M. Bailey, The Courier-Journal, 27 July 2023 Then, armed with several night-vision trail cameras, a large cage, and a generous cache of hot dogs, Tierney embarks on nighttime stakeouts in and around New York City. Sean Paulsen, The New Yorker, 5 July 2023 The area was so remote that during an 18-day stakeout, one agent saw a cougar kill a deer. Alex Traub,, 10 June 2023 Then, pull up the stakeout pole, flip it over and push to the next spot. Ric Burnley, Field & Stream, 9 Jan. 2023 Bronny James is off to USC and Bryce James is headed to Studio City Campbell Hall, so Chatsworth Sierra Canyon will get to experience a drop in media interest and paparazzi stakeouts. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2023 And left-wing activists pushing to increase income taxes on the wealthy have gotten arrested after holding overnight stakeouts. Luis Ferré-Sadurní, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2023 Their routine in conducting this virtual stakeout: Motor by the entrance at frequent intervals, in separate vehicles, one following the other. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 17 May 2023 The Capitol press stakeout grew in the midday sun outside the Senate’s east entrance on Wednesday. Pablo Manríquez, The New Republic, 11 May 2023
The next morning, the first camera crews were staking out their spots in the grassy plaza across the street from City Hall. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 23 Sep. 2023 Among those who staked out an early seat for the impeachment vote were three of Paxton’s former deputies who reported him to the FBI in 2020 and were key witnesses during the trial for House impeachment managers. Paul J. Weber and Juan A. Lozano,, 16 Sep. 2023 Bring a blanket and a picnic, or buy one from a food truck, and arrive early to stake out a spot and play lawn games. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 In some ways, social media has become an alternative to a hole-in-the-wall live show venue, where music executives might stake out to find fresh talent. Char Adams, NBC News, 2 Aug. 2023 That film was headed to a Toronto premiere, but switched to Venice when that invitation came and Egoyan’s team felt the need to stake out turf in the early summer festival circuit before Guest of Honor played in Toronto at the Elgin Theatre, and then at Vancouver, London and Busan. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2023 Hummingbirds are territorial and will stake out their favorite feeding places, defending their food sources. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 8 Aug. 2023 Franklin and others said that the influence of these sorts of groups in competitive Democratic primaries will push candidates to stake out clear positions on the subject. Benjamin Oreskes, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2023 Or should the group recast itself as team players while Republicans stake out their opposition to President Biden and the Democrats? Molly Ball, Time, 18 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stakeout.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1942, in the meaning defined above


1951, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of stakeout was circa 1942

Dictionary Entries Near stakeout

Cite this Entry

“Stakeout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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