\ 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 The good guys steal the Ark back but on a steam ship to London, a German U-boat finds them, and the Ark as well as Marion are captured. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 12 June 2021 Kits were sold on the darkweb to teach people how to steal someone's identification and submit claims for unemployment benefits. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 12 June 2021 Criminals were able to steal the source code that powers EA’s popular FIFA 21 soccer video game and are attempting to sell the technology in underground hacking forums, reported tech publication Motherboard. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 10 June 2021 It’s just Loki who wasn’t supposed to steal that Infinity Stone. Chris Smith, BGR, 10 June 2021 The site gives Denver a 31% chance to steal a victory in Phoenix. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 9 June 2021 Giants late-inning reliever Tyler Rogers was bit with some bad luck in the ninth - the groundball single and steal by Kiner-Falefa, a soft hit by Adolis Garcia. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 June 2021 The request may be coming from someone looking to worm into your professional network to pilfer trade secrets, disrupt your systems, steal your identity or just harm your public reputation or brand. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, 8 June 2021 But this was a prime chance to steal a game that seemed tilted against them from the start because of the combination of their fatigue and Utah’s six-day break. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Amanda Granader scored the first goal of the second half after a steal by Gabby Mainhardt to pull Brighton within three goals. Dana Gauruder, Detroit Free Press, 13 June 2021 Charging from behind on a trap midway through the second quarter, Leonard ripped Mitchell’s spin-move dribble away and turned the steal into a transition dunk for a seven-point lead. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, 12 June 2021 Game 1: 14 points (6-of-6 FGs, 1-of-1 on 3s, 1-1 FTs), 3 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2021 His 5 points, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 rebound in 8:21 of Game 1 against the reigning champion Lakers helped spark that key comeback win in the Western Conference semifinals. Dallas News, 11 June 2021 The new Ring Video Doorbell Wired that was released just a few months ago retails for $60, and it’s a steal at that price. Maren Estrada, BGR, 10 June 2021 Doncic is still on his rookie contract, and is scheduled to earn $10.1 million for the 2021-22 season—a steal for a player of his caliber. Doyle Rader, Forbes, 7 June 2021 Like here, George sees Mike Conley sneaking in to cut off the lob, but at the last minute, Conley recovers back to his man to get the easy steal. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 June 2021 Relative to that, the Tor Black Magic looks like a steal, at just $450. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 June 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

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 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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