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


The drug deal was witnessed during a stakeout of the building. The police were on a stakeout.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That was on full display Tuesday evening when Bolton answered the door during a media stakeout of his home. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "What's next for John Bolton following his White House exit?," 11 Sep. 2019 Williams was captured during a police stakeout in May 1981. Michele Corriston,, "Everything to Know About the Real Serial Killers of Mindhunter Season 2," 19 Aug. 2019 Antonella Barba, 32, pleaded guilty in a Norfolk court Tuesday after she was caught by a police stakeout in Virginia last year with a large amount of the synthetic opioid. Fox News, "Former 'American Idol' contestant pleads guilty to moving nearly 2 pounds of fentanyl, could face up to 10 years in prison," 31 July 2019 Never underestimate Logan’s love of pushing people’s buttons, Leo! Especially when your working lunch turns into a five-hour stakeout … which in Veronica’s world is definitely a date. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "Hulu's Veronica Mars revival binge recap for every episode," 19 July 2019 Photos from the stakeout were published in the Herald on May 3, 1987. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "The True Story of Gary Hart's Presidential Campaign Scandal in The Front Runner," 8 Nov. 2018 The robbery suspects were caught Nov. 3 after police spotted them during a stakeout and pursued them onto the Capital Beltway and their van crashed. Dan Morse, Washington Post, "Her job with the MS-13 robbery crew: Case the businesses and wipe down the guns.," 5 July 2018 The unidentified friend notified authorities and, on April 24, Araujo and Abell were in custody in Broward County after a brief stakeout. Jose Lambiet, miamiherald, "'Some kind of love triangle': Pair charged with brutal slaying of Miami woman | Miami Herald," 30 Apr. 2018 Todd Edwards, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Baltimore, testified that during a 2016 stakeout Jenkins got out of a vehicle with tinted windows and knocked on Edwards’ car window at a parking lot in southern Maryland. David Mcfadden, USA TODAY, "Ex-Baltimore detectives testify about force’s robberies, illegal activities," 29 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for stakeout

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for stakeout

The first known use of stakeout was circa 1942

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on stakeout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stakeout

Comments on stakeout

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involving a confidence or trust

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