\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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 These target individuals to steal personal information. Dallas News, 18 July 2021 Pegasus can steal a phone’s content and turn on its microphone for real-time monitoring, according to cybersecurity experts. Washington Post, 18 July 2021 Some who breached the Third Precinct did steal items from the building. Andy Mannix, Star Tribune, 14 July 2021 The resistance of technology isn’t new and our modern fear that robots will steal all the jobs, and automation will make humans obsolete, fits a classic script that is nearly 500 years old. Nicole Silver, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Employees confirmed during the video that O'Neal did not steal anything. Briana Rice, The Enquirer, 4 June 2021 The look was another example of Browne’s tailoring expertise and further proof that Hahn can steal a scene, no matter the occasion. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 31 May 2021 The situation is so bad that the International Monetary Fund recently made clear that the Maduro regime is cut off from receiving its $5 billion in special drawing rights, because the IMF knows that Maduro will simply steal the money. Marshall Billingslea, National Review, 9 May 2021 The federal prosecution was highly unusual in that Diaz did not steal people’s nest eggs. Michael Rubinkam, ajc, 26 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Holiday also had a key steal of Devin Booker in the waning moments of the fourth quarter to thwart a late Phoenix comeback bid. Reuters, CNN, 18 July 2021 James came in from the bench at the 2:12 mark of the first quarter, picked up an offensive foul, then made a steal and scored his first basket of the season with 59 seconds left in the quarter. Eric Sondheimer Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 11 June 2021 Edwards had a steal for the 25th straight game, the longest active streak in the NBA, and longest by a rookie in team history. Brian Hall, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021 Hopkins second baseman Andrew Ciaglo, a junior, was 1 for 2 with a steal and an RBI walk., 3 July 2021 Brooklyn’s James Harden came away with a steal and didn’t have a Milwaukee defender between him and the basket. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 18 June 2021 Brianna Turner came up with a steal from Crystal Dangerfield with seven seconds left and the Lynx leading 75-74 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Jeff Metcalfe, The Arizona Republic, 14 May 2021 Antetokounmpo came up with a steal on Houston’s first possession and intended to take it to the rim but Rockets big man Kelly Olynyk tried to move into position in the lane. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 29 Apr. 2021 Then, after the Bulls again went up four, Butler came up with a steal, only to miss the transition layup ono the other end. Ira Winderman,, 26 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About steal

Time Traveler for steal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near steal

steak tartare



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for steal

Last Updated

21 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more


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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!