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 After a short stakeout, police nabbed Kid Riviera at a South Side apartment building. Mick Dumke, ProPublica, "“Power Companies Get Exactly What They Want”: How Texas Repeatedly Failed to Protect Its Power Grid Against Extreme Weather," 28 Feb. 2021 The deputies were suspicious after conducting a stakeout on an emergency exit door. New York Times, "New Year’s Lawbreakers: 3 N.Y.C. Parties With Hundreds Are Broken Up," 1 Jan. 2021 His case attracted a large media stakeout outside the courthouse. Kristin Hussey, New York Times, "Michael Skakel, Kennedy Cousin, Will Not Face 2nd Murder Trial," 30 Oct. 2020 Roberts had asked the president to come over to a camera stakeout position and comment, for the entire pool, on the shooting at a US naval air base in Corpus Christi, Texas, which the FBI says was terrorism-related. Brian Stelter, CNN, "In public, Trump bashed Fox. Behind closed doors, he had a friendly chat with its top correspondent," 22 May 2020 Using stakeout ground blind material doesn’t provide as much coverage or weather protection as a real blind, but when on the go, such material is much better than using a regular blind. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Great Gifts for Ground Blind Hunters," 27 Nov. 2019 Chases, interrogations, stakeouts and near-misses bring them steadily, incrementally closer to the inevitable showdown. Mike Hale, New York Times, "The Great Unknown Movie of the Century So Far? Here’s Mine," 24 Nov. 2019 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Stakeout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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