\ 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

Other Words from steal


stealable \ ˈstē-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce steal (audio) \ adjective
stealer noun

Synonyms for steal

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb No one would dare steal candy while this snarling pumpkin is watching—but young pumpkin carvers will enjoy this easy stencil. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Sep. 2022 In the Greek legend, the tenth of Hercules’s famed labors is to kill Geryon and steal his herd of magical red cattle. Chelsea Leu, The Atlantic, 15 Sep. 2022 That is certainly true of Hamilton, who has been successful on a remarkable 69 of 77 (89.6 percent) steal attempts. Alex Speier,, 15 Sep. 2022 Some bad actors have been known to steal a physical SIM card and swap it into a different phone to gain access to someone’s information and reset their accounts, according to the federal agency. Catherine Thorbecke, CNN, 9 Sep. 2022 The cards provide directly what so many data brokers steal and use to defraud consumers. Charlotte Kent, WIRED, 8 Sep. 2022 In Arizona's four major Republican primaries, steal champions won all of them, worrying other Republicans there. CBS News, 4 Sep. 2022 Due to a boom in online payday lending companies in recent years, hackers are able to steal data and more easily imitate real lenders. Katie Wedell, USA TODAY, 1 Sep. 2022 Thieves have been targeting men and women who are walking alone and steal their jewelry while leaving them with costume jewelry or another item of little or no value, authorities said. Summer Lin, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At just over $400 at the time of this writing, this gorgeous home office desk is a steal. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 14 Sep. 2022 The price is friendly (usually no more than $350, which is a steal compared to the $500 headphones that exist on the market these days) and the comfort carries raving reviews. John Thompson, Men's Health, 13 Sep. 2022 Coming in at just under $10 for a standard queen size, the No-Go Flat Pillow is a steal. Lydia Mansel, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2022 Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a redshirt sophomore recovering from shoulder surgery, could be a steal. Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 3 Sep. 2022 Finding anything from the brand for less than $200 is a major steal too. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, 31 Aug. 2022 Complete with a matte lipstick, pretty gloss, and lip pencil, this three-piece lip trio is such a steal for $25. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 24 Aug. 2022 That price is a steal compared with the $4.75 billion valuation that BlockFi reached in July 2021, according to PitchBook data. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2022 Plus at just under $20 for the small tree, this spring decor piece is a steal. Emily Vanschmus, Better Homes & Gardens, 9 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best home security camera systems.

Learn More About steal

Time Traveler for steal

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near steal

steak tartare



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for steal

Last Updated

19 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for steal


\ 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


transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on steal

Nglish: Translation of steal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steal for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!