\ 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

Firstly, his awareness to steal the ball off Wilfred Ndidi and drill the ball past Leicester City keeper Kasper Schmeichel was really impressive., "Chelsea Premier League Month in Review: August - Best Player, Worst Performance & Overall Rating," 8 Sep. 2019 Just this year alone, he is believed to have stolen $100,000 worth of goods across three apartments, prosecutors said. Madeline Holcombe And Joshua Girsky, CNN, "An 82-year-old man slipped past doormen in upscale buildings for years and stole $400K in jewelry, police say," 8 Sep. 2019 McDowell and two other men tried to steal a truck making a delivery to the deli Aug. 14, according to court records. Evan Macdonald,, "Cleveland man charged in attempted carjacking of delivery truck at East Side deli," 6 Sep. 2019 Conspiring to and attempting to steal trade secrets is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Cameron Knight,, "Russian, Italian nationals accused of stealing trade secrets from GE Aviation," 5 Sep. 2019 So get familiar with Hustlers (Sept. 13), Lorene Scafaria’s cinematic retelling of the New York magazine article about a group of strippers who orchestrated a scheme to steal thousands from their wealthy clients. Mary Sollosi,, "Your pop culture horoscope for September: It Chapter Two, Charli XCX, and fall TV," 3 Sep. 2019 Impostors posing as book agents tried to steal the digital manuscript, so publishers around the world agreed to go analog. Time, "The Handmaid's Tale Was a Warning. Three Decades Later, Margaret Atwood Is Back With Another," 3 Sep. 2019 During a three-week trial, the teen from Northeast Baltimore had admitted to smoking pot and wandering Canton looking for unlocked cars to steal, then to ditching the murder weapon and later to lying to detectives. Luke Broadwater,, "3 Baltimore men are convicted on gang charges related to murder of popular bartender in Canton," 31 Aug. 2019 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 37, Phoenix Desert Vista 35: Notre Dame marched the length of the field and scored on a 32-yard field goal by Anthony Prieto at the final gun to steal a win away from Desert Vista. Notre Dame (1-0), ranked No. John Maffei, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Cathedral Catholic defeats Scottsdale Saguaro in Honor Bowl," 31 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The display included six hits, a sacrifice squeeze by Austin Barnes and a sublime double steal executed by Barnes and Joc Pederson. Los Angeles Times, "Dave Roberts looks to keep Dodgers’ momentum going in second half," 15 July 2019 The double steal by Margot and Tatis made Margot 12-for-12 on the season. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Braves score three in 10th to beat Padres again," 13 July 2019 After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas' twisting foul pop to end the inning., "MLB All-Star Game: American League holds on for seventh straight victory, 4-3," 10 July 2019 After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas’ twisting foul pop to end the inning., "American League strikes out 16 National League hitters to win its 7th straight All-Star Game," 10 July 2019 There was a three-point play featuring a nifty behind-the-back dribble after a steal. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Khyri Thomas delivers 'buckets' in summer-league opener," 6 July 2019 After a double steal, Avisail Garcia singled in the tie-breaking run and Ji-Man Choi followed with an RBI single. Gideon Rubin,, "Rays surrender 9th-inning lead, lose 5-4 at Oakland," 21 June 2019 D’Hanis made it 3-0 in the fourth when Ethan Reyes drove in Jaeden VanDamme from second with a single and Luke Langfield stealing home on the back end of a double steal with Reyes going to second. David Hinojosa,, "D’Hanis shuts out New Home to claim 1A state title," 6 June 2019 We’ve never mistaken JuJu Smith-Schuster as Jerry Rice, so Moncrief could be a huge steal. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "The Loop Fantasy Football Preview: Our Favorites," 9 Aug. 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).


recurring in steady succession

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