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


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

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 Map shows where East Area Rapist struck in Sacramento The Visalia attacks ended after area police began saturating neighborhoods with stakeouts designed to catch the Ransacker. Sam Stanton, sacbee, "He was a teen chasing a prowler in 1977. He ended up being shot by the East Area Rapist," 8 June 2018 Also outstanding is the photo-essay by Pipo Nguyen-duy of Oberlin, who used a tiny hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City in his native Vietnam as a stakeout for shots of the unusually vibrant and eccentric goings-on in a small alley and plaza outside. Joey Morona,, "Cleveland featured in premiere of Travel Channel's 'Eat, Drink, Haggle' with Lara Spencer," 21 Apr. 2018 In 2012, Dumke and Joravsky wrote about a police stakeout of a grow house on the far south side. Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / News / The Reefer If you can't smoke weed right now, you might as well read about it," 20 Apr. 2018 After multiple stakeout nights and a stealthy car tailing, the desperate officers come up empty handed. Scott Glaysher, Billboard, "'Unsolved' Recap: Detective Poole Removed From Biggie's Murder Case, 2Pac Accused of Rape in Episode 4," 23 Mar. 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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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

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an act or instance of returning to life

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