\ 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 The Justice Department unveiled a superseding indictment against Huawei in February, charging it with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "US will soon ban federal contracts to companies that use Huawei and four other Chinese companies," 9 July 2020 An arriving officer located the Cleveland woman, who was attempting to steal miscellaneous items. John Benson, cleveland, "Dispute between neighboring family members leads to disorderly conduct arrest: Brooklyn Police Blotter," 8 July 2020 Deputies said the minivan's engine and air conditioning were running when Aguilar tried to steal it. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Girl, 13, killed in violent California carjacking," 7 July 2020 The superseding indictment does not add to the 18 charges accusing Assange of working with former Army private Chelsea Manning in 2010 to steal classified documents from the U.S. government. Washington Post, "Justice Department broadens case against Julian Assange," 25 June 2020 Plus, hot goaltenders can steal games and series easier in the playoffs, carrying a team deep. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "10 things to remember about the Stars’ season before the NHL restarts, including the tough stretches they weathered," 12 June 2020 The Valencias were accused of working with others to steal about 33,000 barrels of crude oil over a period of more than two years ending in 2016, and selling it to unsuspecting third-party companies. Sig Christenson,, "San Antonio home where GI and family found dead was once owned by oil theft ringleader," 10 June 2020 He's also accused of conspiring to try to steal $124 million from an unnamed English Premier League soccer club. Faith Karimi, CNN, "He flaunted private jets and luxury cars on Instagram. Feds used his posts to link him to alleged cyber crimes," 12 July 2020 Thieves are using trucks as battering rams to steal automatic teller machines from inside local businesses, Baltimore police said. Washington Post, "Local Digest: Man found fatally shot outside laudromat in Northeast Washington," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Steven Duggar was called safe on a steal, but third baseman Pablo Sandoval wasn’t having it. Henry Schulman,, "Giants try to get serious in a ballgame that features homers by Sandoval, Pence," 11 July 2020 Vitto Brown then registered a steal on Villanova star Josh Hart on the other end of the floor. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "50 in 50: Here are moments Nos. 71 to 80 among the greatest in Wisconsin sports over the past 50 years," 3 June 2020 Posey had made an unlikely steal to be in scoring position, but had instant replay been in effect, he would almost certainly have been called out. Bruce Jenkins,, "Sporting Green reader memories: The play that launched the 49ers’ dynasty," 11 July 2020 Teigen’s earthy dinnerware set is a steal at this price. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "Chrissy Teigen shares her favorite recipes for the Fourth of July," 1 July 2020 This blazer from Lemaire is a steal at 60 percent off. oregonlive, "Nordstrom online sale: Up to 60 percent off designer clothing, swimwear, Givenchy sunglasses, Gucci loafers and more," 30 June 2020 After Cox was hit with a pitch, the Astros pulled off the double steal to perfection, creating a 3-0 score. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Astros claim Mustang Division showdown from Rangers 4-0," 30 June 2020 So, according to a few places, the Browns got a steal in Elliott. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "Which draft pick will make the biggest impact? Browns 20 questions," 29 June 2020 This short-sleeve chambray ruffle wrap dress is a major steal with a faux-wrap detail, 100 percent cotton material and a soft ruffle detail. NBC News, "Amazon Big Style Sale 2020: Best deals on clothes, shoes and more," 22 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for steal

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for steal

Last Updated

1 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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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

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