\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steal (audio) \
stole\ ˈstōl How to pronounce stole (audio) \; stolen\ ˈstō-​lən How to pronounce stolen (audio) \; stealing

Definition of steal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice
2 : to come or go secretly, unobtrusively, gradually, or unexpectedly
3 : to steal or attempt to steal a base

transitive verb

1a : to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully stole a car
b : to take away by force or unjust means they've stolen our liberty
c : to take surreptitiously or without permission steal a kiss
d : to appropriate to oneself or beyond one's proper share : make oneself the focus of steal the show
2a : to move, convey, or introduce secretly : smuggle
b : to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner steal a visit
3a : to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring a basketball player adept at stealing the ball stole the election
b of a base runner : to reach (a base) safely solely by running and usually catching the opposing team off guard
steal a march on
: to gain an advantage on unobserved
steal one's thunder
: to grab attention from another especially by anticipating an idea, plan, or presentation also : to claim credit for another's idea



Definition of steal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of stealing
2 : a fraudulent or questionable political deal
3 : bargain sense 2 it's a steal at that price

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Other Words from steal


stealable \ ˈstē-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce stealable (audio) \ adjective
stealer noun

Synonyms for steal

Synonyms: Verb

appropriate, boost [slang], filch, heist, hook, lift, misappropriate, nick [British slang], nip, pilfer, pinch, pocket, purloin, rip off, snitch, swipe, thieve

Synonyms: Noun

bargain, buy, deal, pennyworth, snip [British]

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Choose the Right Synonym for steal


steal, pilfer, filch, purloin mean to take from another without right or without detection. steal may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to intangibles as well as material things. steal jewels stole a look at the gifts pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts. pilfered from his employer filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously. filched an apple from the tray purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes. printed a purloined document

Examples of steal in a Sentence


They stole thousands of dollars' worth of jewelry from the store. He discovered that his car had been stolen. The store manager accused the boy of stealing. I stole a cookie from the cookie jar. They stole our best pitcher away from our team. His outstanding performance stole the show.


This car is a steal at only $5,000. He has 40 steals this season. a nifty steal by the defender
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Nispey’s death represents the type of senseless violence that stole a generation of hip-hop’s brightest stars. Jamilah King, Teen Vogue, "Nipsey Hussle's Death Brings a New Generation of Hip-Hop Heartbreak," 7 Apr. 2019 Those who steal a second time will have their left foot cut off, according to a copy of the Islamic laws posted on the Brunei government’s website. Jon Emont, WSJ, "Brunei to Enforce Stoning for Adultery, Gay Sex," 1 Apr. 2019 There is a misconception circulating that advantages bought by the rich result in spots being stolen from the poor. Hafeez Lakhani, WSJ, "College Coaching Doesn’t Hurt the Poor," 20 Mar. 2019 Ombrés, low-contrast marbleized prints, and tonal faux suedes will bring depth to room without stealing the spotlight. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "Interior Designers Predict the Next Major Wallpaper Trends," 12 Mar. 2019 Set during the Irish Potato Famine, the song tells the tale of a man who is caught stealing food for his hungry family, and is sent away to serve his punishment in a foreign land. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "20 Best Irish Songs to Help You Celebrate St. Patrick's Day," 13 Feb. 2019 Delicia Cordon alleges McCoy failed to protect her after she was bloodied, beaten and had $133,000 worth of jewelry stolen by an intruder at a home the running back owns in Milton, just outside Atlanta. Fox News, "Mother of LeSean McCoy's son claims abuse by Bills star," 18 Sep. 2018 Some may give this verse a pass as a joke, and some put the thrust of the jab on the fact that Thug was stealing from Minaj’s closet, but there seems to be more at play here. Mikelle Street, Teen Vogue, "Nicki Minaj Is Being Accused of Queerphobia On Her New Album "Queen"," 13 Aug. 2018 A few days later after Stone said that, WikiLeaks published emails stolen from Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. Amber Phillips,, "6 questions about the indictment of 12 Russians for hacking," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Watts played for Team USA's Under-18 squad earlier this summer, and has impressed on the Nike circuit, averaging 25.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "3 prospects who could help Louisville basketball's 2019 signing class," 11 July 2018 Hutchison was a four-year player at the Boise State and averaged 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.48 steals per game. Malika Andrews,, "Bulls sign Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison to rookie deals," 3 July 2018 Henderson was a first-team all-district selection last season after recording 12 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Arlington Martin star, who made SportsCenter, commits to UNT basketball and track," 2 July 2018 While a bit undersized relative to NBA point guards, Holiday battled defensively in college and averaged more than 1.1 steals per game each season. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Do the Bucks really need another point guard in the draft?," 15 June 2018 The 6-foot-4 point guard averaged 24.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. Josh Criswell,, "Daily Pilot Boys’ Basketball Dream Team: Blake Burzell grew, made history at Laguna Beach," 10 May 2018 Cunningham has started all 110 games of his career, averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and 29 percent from 3-point range. Bill Landis,, "Samford graduate transfer guard Christen Cunningham visiting Ohio State basketball this week," 23 Apr. 2018 Forrest increased his scoring average by 12 points per game as a senior, averaging 26 to go with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals per game. David Furones,, "Ely guard Michael Forrest commits to FAU basketball, dedicates it to grandma," 19 Apr. 2018 Bridges put up some impressive numbers this season for Villanova: averages of 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game; 43.5 percent shooting from three-point range and 85.1 percent on free throws, a team-high 104 three-point baskets. Joe Juliano,, "Villanova's Mikal Bridges officially enters NBA Draft, likely headed for lottery," 10 Apr. 2018

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


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


circa 1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for steal


Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan; akin to Old High German stelan to steal

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More Definitions for steal



English Language Learners Definition of steal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal
: to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission
: to wrongly take and use (another person's idea, words, etc.)



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

informal : something that is being sold at a low price
baseball : the act of stealing a base
sports : the act of taking the ball, puck, etc., from another player


\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steal (audio) \
stole\ ˈstōl \; stolen\ ˈstō-​lən \; stealing

Kids Definition of steal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to take and carry away (something that belongs to another person) without permission and with the intention of keeping
2 : to come or go quietly or secretly She stole out of the room.
3 : to draw attention away from others The puppy stole the show.
4 : to take or get secretly or in a tricky way He stole a nap.
5 : to reach the next base safely in baseball by running to it when the ball has not been hit in play
6 : to take (as a ball or puck) from another player
7 : to take something from a situation



Kids Definition of steal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of stealing He leads the team in steals.
2 : bargain entry 1 sense 2 At 20 dollars, these boots were a steal.


\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steal (audio) \

Medical Definition of steal

: abnormal circulation characterized by deviation (as through collateral vessels or by backward flow) of blood to tissues where the normal flow of blood has been cut off by occlusion of an artery subclavian steal coronary steal

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stole; stolen; stealing

Legal Definition of steal

: to take or appropriate without right or consent and with intent to keep or make use of — see also robbery, theft

History and Etymology for steal

Old English stelan

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More from Merriam-Webster on steal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steal

Spanish Central: Translation of steal

Nglish: Translation of steal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on steal

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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