\ ˈstāk How to pronounce stake (audio) \

Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed piece of wood or other material driven or to be driven into the ground as a marker or support
2a : a post to which a person is bound for execution by burning
b : execution by burning at a stake
3a : something that is staked for gain or loss
b : the prize in a contest
c : an interest or share in an undertaking or enterprise
4 : a Mormon territorial jurisdiction comprising a group of wards
5 : grubstake
6 : stakes race usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
at stake
: at issue : in jeopardy


staked; staking

Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark the limits of by or as if by stakes
2 : to tether to a stake
3 : bet, wager
4 : to fasten up or support (something, such as a plant) with stakes
5 : to back financially
6 : grubstake
stake a claim
: to assert a title or right to something by or as if by placing stakes usually to satisfy a legal requirement

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Synonyms & Antonyms for stake

Synonyms: Noun

claim, interest, share

Synonyms: Verb

bankroll, capitalize, endow, finance, fund, subsidize, underwrite

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of stake in a Sentence


Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. a poker game with high stakes The stakes are too high.


She staked the tomatoes to keep them from falling over. the actor staked the entire production of the film with his own money
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This latest trailer shows off the stakes of the war that’s brewing between the Church and its opponents. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "A war is brewing in the new trailer for HBO’s fantasy series His Dark Materials," 19 July 2019 Earlier this week, Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, warned of the high stakes in play. Sam Kiley, CNN, "On the ship that downed a military drone, one small mistake could cause a war with Iran," 19 July 2019 For Emory and other universities, the stakes in these investigations are high. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Scrutiny of Chinese American scientists raises fears of ethnic profiling," 19 July 2019 But either way, respect is what is at stake for Kentucky in 2019, much like so many years before that. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "For Kentucky football, 2019 is a prove-it season, just like every season before," 18 July 2019 Their task in the penalty stage is harder and the stakes much higher., "Peoria jury deliberating for 2nd day on death penalty for Brendt Christensen," 18 July 2019 For Yang, being raised by immigrant parents in a low-income home only made her expectations higher and the stakes feel greater. Amanda Shapiro, Bon Appétit, "The Myth of the Perfect Job," 18 July 2019 Photographs of the three astronauts aboard the International Space Station hang on the wall, as a reminder of the human stakes. The Economist, "Attacking satellites is increasingly attractive—and dangerous," 18 July 2019 Neither Paul nor United Talent shared the amount of the stake with the Times. Jenna West,, "Klutch Sports' Rich Paul to Lead Sports Division at United Talent Agency," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This means that all three are expected to return to pre-season training later than the rest of the squad, leaving Origi in pole position to stake his claim for a starting berth in the early stages of the new campaign., "Divock Origi Tipped to Sign New Long-Term Contract at Liverpool as Striker Is Promised 'Bigger Role'," 5 July 2019 The president, who has staked his re-election on strong economic growth, faces risks from a trade war that has begun to hurt farmers, manufacturers and other businesses with exposure to China. Alan Rappeport, New York Times, "Trump Restarts China Trade Talks, but the Two Sides Remain Far Apart.," 30 June 2019 But Mr Rouhani staked his legacy on a deal, signed in 2015, that loosened sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme. The Economist, "Iran is blowing up ships in the Gulf, says America," 14 June 2019 And Dantonio’s program has a chance to stake its claim to finish out the decade with one more this season. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Tom Izzo milestones could launch big sports year," 9 June 2019 Coast Cutlery and Gerber staked claims in Oregon in the first half of the 20th century. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Why Portland, Oregon, is the Knife-making Capital of the U.S.," 25 May 2019 Former vice president Joe Biden has staked much of his candidacy on the idea that defeating Trump after one term will allow a return to normalcy., "Trump launches reelection bid with familiar themes, redoubling focus on his most avid backers," 19 June 2019 Aguirre was staked to a quick 6-0 advantage and Pasadena could never get any closer than five runs the rest of the way. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Deer Park’s Bronco, Pinto all-stars capture Directors Tournament titles," 17 June 2019 Harris has staked these proposals on the president’s powers in a way that contrasts with other candidates. Tal Kopan,, "Kamala Harris would lean on presidential power, not Congress, for big plans," 15 June 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stake


Middle English, from Old English staca; akin to Middle Low German stake pole, and perhaps to Latin tignum beam

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Statistics for stake

Last Updated

23 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for stake

The first known use of stake was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for stake



English Language Learners Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a pointed stick or post that is pushed into the ground especially to mark a place or to support something
: a post that a person was tied to and burned on in the past as a form of punishment
: something (such as money) that you could win or lose in a game, contest, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

: to risk the loss of (something, such as money)
: to support (something, such as a plant) with stakes


\ ˈstāk How to pronounce stake (audio) \

Kids Definition of stake

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed piece (as of wood) that is driven into the ground as a marker or a support for something tent stakes A sign was nailed to a stake.
2 : a post to which a person is tied to be put to death by burning
3 : something that is put up to be won or lost in gambling They play cards for high stakes.
4 : the prize in a contest
5 : share entry 1 sense 1, interest She owns a stake in the business.
at stake
: in a position to be lost if something goes wrong If you miss the deadline, your job is at stake.


staked; staking

Kids Definition of stake (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : bet entry 2 sense 1 I've staked my reputation on the new plan.
2 : to mark the limits of by stakes They staked out the yard.
3 : to fasten or support (as plants) with stakes
4 : to give money to in order to help (as with a project)



Legal Definition of stake

1 : the subject matter (as property or an obligation) of an interpleader
2 : an interest or share in an especially commercial undertaking

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More from Merriam-Webster on stake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stake

Spanish Central: Translation of stake

Nglish: Translation of stake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stake for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stake

Comments on stake

What made you want to look up stake? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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