\ 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 Dallas police are asking for the public’s help identifying a man suspected of assaulting a 45-year-old woman while attempting to steal her car last month in Far North Dallas. Kelli Smith, Dallas News, "Dallas police seek man they say assaulted a woman during attempted carjacking in Far North Dallas," 21 Apr. 2021 Already there are signs that Amsterdam could steal the lead in this booming business for Europe. New York Times, "How Will Britain Defend Its Financial Fief After Brexit?," 16 Apr. 2021 But his music and film careers were increasingly overshadowed by his legal troubles, including charges of animal cruelty, drug possession and impersonating a federal agent in a bizarre attempt to steal a car. Washington Post, "DMX, chart-topping rapper with gruff voice and hardscrabble life, dies at 50," 9 Apr. 2021 In 1990, two men dressed as cops con their way into a Boston museum and steal a fortune in art. Jacob Siegal, BGR, "Everything coming and going on Netflix: Week of April 4th," 4 Apr. 2021 In his second start of the season, the junior forward tallied 11 points, two rebounds and one assist, block and steal in U-M's 82-66 win over Texas Southern in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Johns didn't lead the Wolverines in any stats. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Why Michigan basketball's Brandon Johns could be an epic contributor with more time," 20 Mar. 2021 His motions were based in part on evidence that had surfaced in which witnesses claimed the shooting was a botched attempt by other people to steal prescription medication from Shirley and Bill Carters’ home. David Pitt,, "Court upholds Iowa man’s $10 million civil judgment in mother’s shooting death," 19 Mar. 2021 The suspects jumped into the car in attempt to steal it, police said, hitting a man who had run to the victim's aid. Nora Mishanec, San Francisco Chronicle, "Teenager arrested in S.F. assault, carjacking case, but two suspects are still at large," 16 Mar. 2021 Clayburne scored a game-high 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in sixth seed Williams Field's 50-41 loss to third seed Goodyear Millennium in the 5A quarterfinals Friday. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, "High school girls basketball top performers in state playoffs' first week; vote in poll," 15 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This kind of thinking has always been a feature of American intellectual life and Western intellectual life more broadly, from tales of the Illuminati to the Lyndon LaRouche cult to 9/11 truthers and birthers and stop-the-steal devotees. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "COVID Conspiracists Are as American as Apple Pie," 29 Apr. 2021 Arozarena’s steal in the first left opponents 7-for-7 stealing against him. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's beat Rays after Bob Melvin ejected," 26 Apr. 2021 Reserve guard Julian Strawther capped the burst with a three-pointer, steal and layup. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "A look at every game in Gonzaga's unbeaten run to the men's basketball tournament title game," 5 Apr. 2021 Carrington’s steal and layup put Baylor ahead, 75-73., "UConn upperclassmen make the difference in No. 1 seed’s victory over No. 5 Iowa," 27 Mar. 2021 His steal and layup, followed by a 3-pointer, helped John Carroll push the lead to 36-22 at the half. Randy Mcroberts,, "John Carroll boys basketball beats Mount Carmel, 74-59, to close regular season with six straight wins," 17 Mar. 2021 Whitfield led the way with 13 points, six rebounds and a steal, followed by Jeffrey Lewis with 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists and Fluellen with 10 points and three rebounds. al, "Class 4A boys championship: Anniston downs Booker T. Washington, ends 12-year title drought," 4 Mar. 2021 His biggest competition figures to be Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, who averaged 16 points, three rebounds, 2.3 assists and one steal in his first three games. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors mailbag: James Wiseman’s ROY chances? Jordan Poole’s ceiling?," 29 Dec. 2020 The shot rimmed out, but Mitchell’s steal and dunk on the next possession evened everything up in a game that seemed long lost. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Sizzling game for Aztecs’ Matt Mitchell unfolds in silence against BYU," 18 Dec. 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

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 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

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

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