\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steal (audio) \
stole\ ˈstōl How to pronounce steal (audio) \; stolen\ ˈstō-​lən How to pronounce steal (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 steal (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 Griffin Hugus walked and tried to steal the second. Adam Lichtenstein,, "Devin Futrell leads American Heritage to close win over Wellington," 31 Mar. 2021 San Francisco police on Sunday were attempting to de-escalate an incident where a suspect with a knife allegedly tried to steal items from a business near Cesar Chavez and Mission streets. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. police respond to alleged theft attempt by suspect armed with knife," 28 Mar. 2021 On Highlands’ next possession, Butler tried to steal the ball and eventually forced a tie-up while St. Henry fans were lobbying for a Highlands foul that would have sent Butler to the line. James Weber, The Enquirer, "Kentucky high school basketball: Highlands, Conner avenge earlier losses to reach final," 25 Mar. 2021 However, instead of paying for their merchandise, the man and woman tried to steal more than $217 worth of items. John Benson, cleveland, "Police arrest resident after watching him fire gun from his vehicle: Brooklyn Police Blotter," 24 Mar. 2021 This comes two days after an employee who is believed to be a nurse practitioner at TCF reportedly tried to steal two doses of the vaccine. Amy Huschka, Detroit Free Press, "Replay: Mayor Duggan update on Detroit's COVID-19 response," 17 Mar. 2021 The suspect initially evaded the officer and then unsuccessfully tried to steal an 18-wheeler from a nearby business. Mark Dunphy, San Antonio Express-News, "Man steals two trucks at gunpoint on Northeast Side before he is arrested, police say," 8 Mar. 2021 The victim, whose name has not been released, was walking the dogs on a street off the famed Sunset Boulevard when a four-door sedan pulled over and two men tried to steal the animals, Tippett said. CBS News, "Lady Gaga's dog walker shot as two of her French bulldogs were stolen in Los Angeles," 26 Feb. 2021 The victim, whose name has not been released, was walking the dogs when a white Nissan Altima pulled over and two men tried to steal the animals, police said. Time, "Lady Gaga’s Dog Walker Shot and Her 2 French Bulldogs Stolen in Armed Robbery," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Some people might think $200 for a coffee maker is a steal, while others might expect a cheap coffee maker to cost less than $50. Lauren Corona,, "Best cheap coffee makers," 1 Apr. 2021 With a solid lineup of features found in thermometers twice its price, this compact wonder is a steal at under $15. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, "The 8 Best Meat Thermometers to Achieve That Perfect Medium-Rare," 24 Mar. 2021 Compare that to this: the Jazz get the early show, Williamson has to spin, and Mike Conley’s able to get a terrific steal. The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Triple Team: Jazz can’t keep Zion Williamson, Pelicans out of the paint in poor defensive game," 1 Mar. 2021 The Beavers get a steal, nearly turn it over again. oregonlive, "No. 8 Oregon Ducks cruise past No. 15 Oregon State Beavers in women’s basketball: Live updates recap," 13 Dec. 2020 Already an Argos bestseller, this TV delivers the authentic home cinema experience at an absolute steal with £80 off. Laura Sutherland, CNN Underscored, "Cyber Monday: The best deals in the UK," 29 Nov. 2020 That contract is looking like an absolute steal for the team two months later. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "Lu Dort key in Oklahoma City Thunder's series comeback vs. James Harden, Houston Rockets," 26 Aug. 2020 Alabama had nine consecutive missed three-pointers spanning the first and second halves before Petty stepped in front of a pass for a steal and raced down the court for a layup. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Tough NCAA Tournament victory for Alabama shows courage, flaws," 20 Mar. 2021 Bernard grabbed a wayward pass for a steal, giving the Bruins a chance to extend their advantage, before double dribbling in the frontcourt. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "Turnovers and other mistakes doom UCLA late in loss to Colorado," 27 Feb. 2021

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

16 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steal

Nglish: Translation of steal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on steal

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