\ 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 Throughout her many attempts to usurp Kuzco, Yzma never fails to steal the screen with a dazzling purple outfit, eccentric sense of humor, and the help of Kronk, her ditzy sidekick. Nitya Rao, Seventeen, 11 Aug. 2022 Mark Canha attempted to steal second base in a 1-2 count to Starling Marte, and Marte grounded out to shortstop on the pitch. Bobby Nightengale, The Enquirer, 10 Aug. 2022 An arriving officer located the suspect, who was attempting to steal more than $545 worth of items. John Benson, cleveland, 10 Aug. 2022 The laptop also contained instructional material and files that could be used to create fake banking websites to steal account information. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, 7 Aug. 2022 Not only did Fielder rumble around the bases, Dave Bush carried a no-hitter (and 8-0 lead) into the eighth, but the Blue Jays rallied for six runs in the ninth to nearly steal the game away. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 6 Aug. 2022 In the process, though, the Rays scored five runs — including three in the eighth inning — to steal their second win in the series. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 6 Aug. 2022 But these technologically complex services have been prone to attacks, with hackers exploiting security vulnerabilities to steal more than $1 billion in assets so far in 2022, according to forensics firm Elliptic. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 5 Aug. 2022 The bitcoin trash guy, which is how some people might remember him, would use robot dogs as security for the site, so nobody else can try to find and steal the hard drive. Chris Smith, BGR, 2 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Guardians challenged and the call was overturned, giving Gimenez his 14th steal of the year. Paul Hoynes, cleveland, 11 Aug. 2022 Dunning and Brazile each had one block, and six players tallied at least one steal. Scottie Bordelon, Arkansas Online, 9 Aug. 2022 Recently recalled Zach Short led off with a walk and a steal, followed by an RBI single from Greene on a full-count slider up the middle. Tony Garcia, Detroit Free Press, 21 July 2022 The prices of some menu items have increased, primarily to compensate for the change in ingredients, Longo says, but the restaurant offers a simple $4 burger for those still looking for a bite at a steal. Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2022 Estrada’s poor throw home in the second allowed Thompson to take third, and Austin Wynns’ throw sailed into center on a Betts steal in the fourth, allowing Betts to take third. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 July 2022 Hartley reentered the game at the start of the fourth quarter and snagged a New York inbound pass for her first steal as a member of the Sun. Joe Arruda, Hartford Courant, 19 July 2022 This drugstore steal is packed with glycerin, aloe, and notes of coconut milk. SELF, 19 July 2022 In the fourth inning, for instance, the shortstop’s single preceded a steal of second — he’s been caught on just three of his 25 attempts, giving him the second-most steals in the majors. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 12 July 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

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Time Traveler for steal

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

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Dictionary Entries Near steal

steak tartare



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Statistics for steal

Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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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


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