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

Other Words from steal


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

Synonyms for steal

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Verb 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. Noun This car is a steal at only $5,000. He has 40 steals this season. a nifty steal by the defender See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the eighth, Haase and Báez teamed up for the second time in Wednesday's game to catch the same runner — Kyle Isbel — trying to steal second base. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 29 Sep. 2022 Xu, the first Chinese spy ever brought to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution, was convicted in federal court in Cincinnati last November of trying to steal trade secrets from military contractor GE Aviation. Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 26 Sep. 2022 Robinson was shot twice in the lower body while struggling against two teens who were trying to steal his car in Washington. Mark Inabinett |, al, 25 Sep. 2022 After Mateo was thrown out trying to steal his third base of the night, Rutschman doubled to left to bring home Mullins. Nathan Ruiz, Baltimore Sun, 23 Sep. 2022 Red Sox minor league teams are averaging 1.60 steal attempts per game, a whopping 42 percent increase from the 2021 season — too much to explain based on personnel alone. Alex Speier,, 15 Sep. 2022 The sequence shows a team trying to steal some of the nation of Wakanda's precious substance vibranium, and a Wakandan team beating them back. Andrew Dalton, Chron, 11 Sep. 2022 The sequence shows a team trying to steal some of the nation of Wakanda's precious substance vibranium, and a Wakandan team beating them back. Andrew Dalton, ajc, 10 Sep. 2022 The man was allegedly trying to steal items from the store when he was confronted by a clerk. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Under the deal, the investors will lease the land for what some might consider a steal: $50 for 50 years, with a 50-year renewal option. Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel, 25 Sep. 2022 The brains behind this Christmas steal wasn’t the Grinch. Emily Longeretta, Variety, 23 Sep. 2022 Nanisca’s backstory is a pitiful steal of Sethe’s painful matriarch memory in Beloved. Armond White, National Review, 21 Sep. 2022 Stokes played 27 minutes in Game 4, finishing with five rebounds, two points and a steal. Lila Bromberg, Hartford Courant, 19 Sep. 2022 For the Orioles, with two 30-plus steal players in Mullins and Mateo, the benefits could be especially noticeable. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 18 Sep. 2022 That increase, baseball officials hope, will not only reduce collisions, but also provide incentive for more steal attempts and reduce sliding past the bag and being tagged out. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, 15 Sep. 2022 Jose Altuve, Houston's leadoff hitter, singled on a second-pitch fastball and stole second base for his 17th steal in 18 attempts this season. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 13 Sep. 2022 At just over $400 at the time of this writing, this gorgeous home office desk is a steal. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 14 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for steal

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

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Dictionary Entries Near steal

steak tartare



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Statistics for steal

Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for steal


\ 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


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on steal

Nglish: Translation of steal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steal for Arabic Speakers


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