\ 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

One of the hackers who carried out a 2014 attack on JP Morgan Chase to steal data on 80 million customers has struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Adam Lashinsky, Fortune, "Why Cities Need to De-Emphasize Cars and Turn Streets Into Parks—Data Sheet," 17 Sep. 2019 Often overlooked because Mohamed Salah exists, Mane is slowly starting to steal the spotlight away from his Liverpool teammate., "90min's Premier League Team of the Week - Matchday 5," 17 Sep. 2019 Fear not, there were still a handful of wearable looks to steal inspiration from, but for the most part the spring makeup backstage was more for spectacle. Glamour, "21 Spectacular Makeup Looks From the Spring 2020 Runways," 17 Sep. 2019 And in Trump-like fashion, Netanyahu has warned of election fraud, accusing Arab voters -- along with the left -- of trying to steal the elections. Oren Liebermann, CNN, "Israelis return to polls to decide Netanyahu's fate," 17 Sep. 2019 Hustlers debuted in theaters last Friday, and stars Lopez as Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper who leads other strippers in New York City to steal money from businessmen who visit the club by drugging them. Eric Todisco,, "Jennifer Lopez Tries — and Fails — to Prank Ellen DeGeneres," 16 Sep. 2019 The fish will do the rest, occasionally chasing their hooked buddies to the boat trying to steal the lure from their mouths. Frank Sargeant, al, "Fry-size shad provide tasty treat for bass and anglers," 15 Sep. 2019 Was this a subtle ploy by Biden to steal away Bernie Sanders’s vinyl-loving millennial hipsters? John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Joe Biden at the Third Democratic Debate: the Good, the Bad, and the Record Player," 13 Sep. 2019 How else to steal back the spotlight that should perpetually shine on her? Andrea Simakis,, "Dobama Theatre opens 60th season with ‘Stupid (Bleeping) Bird,’ a meta fine sendup of Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’," 13 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Caupain played in four games for the Orlando Magic last season as a two-way player, recording 10 points, three rebounds, four assists and one steal in 16 minutes. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Portland Trail Blazers sign 3 players, finalize training camp roster," 12 Sep. 2019 That put Yelich in the rare 40/30 Club (home runs and steals), only the 10th player (and 12th time) in major-league history to do so and first since the Brewers’ Ryan Braun in 2012. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Christian Yelich gives Brewers a victory they had to have with walk-off double," 7 Sep. 2019 League leaders: Tri-City – SS Jordy Barley (6 triples, 118 total bases), INF Reinaldo Ilarraza (26 steals); Spokane – 1B Blaine Crim (.335 avg. Jeff Sanders, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Minors: Soddies, Storm, Dust Devils set for postseason," 4 Sep. 2019 Along with being named biggest steal, Porter received votes in two other categories. Chris Fedor,, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Porter Jr. named draft’s ‘biggest steal’ in rookie survey," 19 Aug. 2019 Obasohan closed the summer season with 11 points, four assists and one steal in a 94-64 victory over the Chinese national team on Friday. Mark Inabinett |, al, "How the state’s players performed in the NBA’s summer season," 16 July 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



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

What made you want to look up steal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


ancient or antiquated

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