\ 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

Hustlers is an upcoming film about a group of strippers who scam and steal from their Wall Street clients. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Everything to Know About Lili Reinhart's New Movie "Hustlers"," 30 Apr. 2019 Unfortunately this 20-something version of Kevin tries to sabotage his bud and steal the role out from under him, without much success. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Only 'This Is Us' Superfans Can Pass This Impossible Quiz," 6 Sep. 2018 ProtonVPN also supports Forward Secrecy, which uses one-time session encryption keys to prevent someone from stealing encryption keys from a following VPN session and using those to decrypt earlier sessions. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "ProtonVPN review: Underground data centers, one-click multi-hop, and more make for a great choice," 4 Sep. 2018 Designed to be broken into easily, the bait truck was allegedly planted by authorities who wanted to catch potential thieves stealing sneakers from it, according to the Chicago Tribune. Caitlin Wolper, Teen Vogue, "Vic Mensa Gave Away 10,000 Shoes During an Anti-Bait Truck Event in Chicago," 28 Aug. 2018 Smith then stole second and got to third when Peacock threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Mariners keep home run streak alive but two Houston grand slams too much to overcome," 13 Apr. 2019 If Chrome detects a credential has been stolen and published to the web, the Password Checkup popup will then ask you to change your password. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Google's Password Checkup plugin for Chrome can warn you if your password was stolen," 5 Feb. 2019 The finger-pointing, in every direction, is motivated by the idea that Jakelin Caal Maquin had her childhood innocence stolen from her, and so a thief must be found. Dara Lind, Vox, "The death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin in Border Patrol custody isn’t an isolated outrage," 18 Dec. 2018 The 49-year-old plays Miguel Rivas on This Is Us, the heartbreaking NBC drama that has stolen (and subsequently broken) viewers' hearts during its past two seasons. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Star Jon Huertas Says Miguel Will Get His Chance at Redemption This Season," 25 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The list includes Boston, which had more rebounds, blocks and steals than the Pacers in their final regular-season meeting on April 5. Kyle Hightower, The Seattle Times, "Pacers, Celtics enter playoff matchup looking for redemption," 13 Apr. 2019 The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.3 assists per game, shooting 54.3 percent from the field. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "NBA Draft: Louisville's Ray Spalding picked by Philadelphia, traded to Dallas," 21 June 2018 But in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal game, Ayton went off for 32 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks in a 78-67 Arizona victory. Scott Bordow, azcentral, "Suns' draft prospects offer scouting reports on Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III," 4 June 2018 The 6-foot-7 forward averaged a double-double with 23.5 points and 10.8 rebounds as a junior, along with 5.3 assists, 4.8 steals and 2 blocks. Shannon Ryan,, "Star recruit Romeo Weems picks DePaul over Michigan State and Michigan," 22 May 2018 The skinny: JR Smith is averaging 10 points and 1.3 steals and shooting .410 from 3-point range in the playoffs., "Do the Celtics have or need an answer for LeBron James? Eastern Conference finals matchups and predictions," 11 May 2018 Dating back to the 1984 playoffs, Capela and Ben Wallace are the only players to post at least four blocks and two steals in three consecutive games. Houston Chronicle, "Clint Capela's defensive presence huge for Rockets' playoff run," 8 May 2018 Held is the school’s career leader in points, assists, steals and blocks, finishing with 2,430 points. James Weber,, "Announcing the 2017-2018 Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky High School Winter All-Stars," 2 May 2018 Going into the second round, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year leads Golden State in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Draymond Green on the claim he wouldn't start on other teams: 'My jewelry fit well'," 25 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

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standardized text or formulaic language

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