\ 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

Synonyms: Noun

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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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Disney had reported the dress stolen after it had been taken out and put in a locker to be cleaned. Gabrielle Russon,, "At Disney World, felony theft charges filed in a strange case involving park collectibles," 16 Sep. 2019 On Thursday, a resident of the area reported having a vehicle stolen. Chris Coppola, azcentral, "North Carolina fugitive escapes in Arizona during extradition," 13 Sep. 2019 She was indicted alongside Dominick Lamont Durrett, 19, after a woman was knocked to the ground and her purse stolen. Madeline Mitchell,, "Police: Four women arrested after using work-issued police radio to assist armed robbery," 13 Sep. 2019 Theft: Highland Road A resident reported a dirt bike stolen from his garage Sept. 7., "Unknown man asks 12-year-old girl to allow him into her back yard: Highland Heights Police Blotter," 12 Sep. 2019 The following day, a 46-year-old man and Jewelry World were reported victims of $4,954 worth of mostly hand tools and power tools stolen in the 400 block 16th Street. Ramona Sentinel, "Sheriff’s Reports: Sept. 2-8," 10 Sep. 2019 Deerfield police are urging residents to be mindful of their cars and key fobs after seeing a spike this year in the number of cars stolen from the village. Steve Sadin,, "Number of unlocked cars stolen in Deerfield has increased substantially in 2019," 7 Sep. 2019 And the 7,000 spiders, insects, and other invertebrates stolen from the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavillion last year in a suspected attempt to sell them into the pet trade. Jani Actman, National Geographic, "Bug smuggling is big business," 5 Sep. 2019 Officers saw the car near Brayton Avenue and identified it as a car that had been reported stolen from Red’s Quick Zone on Broadway just five minutes earlier, Fall River police said in a statement. Maria Lovato,, "Car theft suspect found hiding behind lawn chairs after police chase in Fall River," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jose Altuve attempted a strange steal of third base behind Diekman’s back, but Diekman found Matt Chapman for the second out and Yordan Alvarez struck out staring. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Athletics win thriller in Houston, take tough series 3-1 and top wild card spot for now," 12 Sep. 2019 Stealing second base attempts The New York Mets, with Mickey Callaway managing, have attempted the most steals of second, with 102 attempts. Los Angeles Times, "Stats Corner: How does Dave Roberts compare to other NL managers?," 31 Aug. 2019 The story is told largely through her character’s eyes, as Ramona takes Destiny under her wing and teaches her the art of the steal — spiking men’s drinks and swiping their credit cards. Joey Nolfi,, "How Jennifer Lopez bared body and soul to find heart in Hustlers," 16 Aug. 2019 Consider this your primer (pun intended!) on all the best steals and deals to look out for. Molly Longman,, "Amazon Prime Day's Biggest Fitness Deals," 15 July 2019 Dunbar got a steal of his own on the Bulldogs’ next possession to set up Chuma Okeke’s dunk to help ensure a comfortable victory. John Zenor, The Seattle Times, "Harper, No. 11 Auburn rebound with 93-78 win over Georgia," 12 Jan. 2019 The 26-year-old is only the second shortstop in major league history with multiple seasons of 30+ homers and 20+ steals. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "Rockies Insider: A four-step plan to improving Colorado’s first base situation heading into 2020," 13 Sep. 2019 Anderson Todd had five goals for the Mustangs (3-2) against Capistrano Valley, and Will Harrington had four goals and three steals. Daily Pilot Staff, Daily Pilot, "High School Roundup: Brandon Ferrin’s three scores lead Huntington Beach football over Irvine," 13 Sep. 2019 On defense, that manifests in a steal rate that’s rare among bigs. Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019

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


How to pronounce steal (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a calculated move

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