\ ˈstēl How to pronounce steal (audio) \
stole\ ˈstōl How to pronounce stole (audio) \; stolen\ ˈstō-​lən How to pronounce stolen (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 stealable (audio) \ adjective
stealer noun

Synonyms for steal

Synonyms: Verb

appropriate, boost [slang], filch, heist, hook, lift, misappropriate, nick [British slang], nip, pilfer, pinch, pocket, purloin, rip off, snitch, swipe, thieve

Synonyms: Noun

bargain, buy, deal, pennyworth, snip [British]

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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


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.


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

When the time finally came, his backpack—and the birth certificate—had been stolen. Sara Harrison, WIRED, "To Help Migrants at the Border, Aid Groups Deploy Tech," 11 Aug. 2019 Bicycle theft: Warren Road A woman reported about 10 p.m. July 31 discovering that her bicycle had been stolen. Bruce Geiselman,, "Guns stolen in burglary: Lakewood Police Blotter," 10 Aug. 2019 Cashman’s white Jeep Wrangler had been stolen the previous weekend in Norwalk and recovered in the Bronx, N.Y., on Tuesday. Gregory B. Hladky,, "Multiple mix-ups led to scary police incident with Yankees GM Cashman," 10 Aug. 2019 Investigators found methamphetamine in Manta’s car, which had been stolen, Deputy District Attorney Melissa Marrero said at his sentencing., "Man shot by Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy receives five-year prison sentence," 9 Aug. 2019 The latest is Capital One, a big American bank with a market capitalisation of $42bn, which on July 29th revealed that a hacker had stolen personal and financial details of 106m credit-card customers and applicants. The Economist, "The Exxon Valdez of cyberspace," 8 Aug. 2019 According to witnesses, the shooter was angry his wallet had been allegedly stolen from someone in the house, the documents said. Molly Bohannon, azcentral, "TIME Magazine: There have been more than 250 mass shootings in 2019. 5 were in Arizona," 8 Aug. 2019 The home, which had been entered through a shattered glass door, had been ransacked but the resident could not immediately identify what might have been stolen. La Cañada Valley Sun, "Crime Report: 6 more La Cañada homes targeted by burglars since July 30," 7 Aug. 2019 In 2018, NBC News first reported that North Korea had stolen 81 million dollars by hacking into the Central Bank of Bangladesh, the equivalent of that country’s Federal Reserve. NBC News, "North Korea funding missile tests through cyberattacks, according to U.N. report," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Rockies second baseman Ryan McMahon and second base umpire Gerry Davis combined to keep the Padres’ rookie without a steal since July 13. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Castillo hurt again; Tatis’ stolen swipe; Urias comes up big too," 9 Aug. 2019 Carr had four steals, Ihnen and Payton Willis each had three. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Behind Isaiah Ihnen, Gophers basketball blows out Italian cub Tuscan Select," 8 Aug. 2019 The centre back is now widely considered to be one of the very best defenders in the world and his price tag, which previously raised eyebrows, looks like a steal., "Liverpool 2019/20 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions," 7 Aug. 2019 Trey Mancini was cut down trying to score on a double by Anthony Santander, and Jace Peterson was tossed out on the front end of a double steal. David Ginsburg,, "Yankees hit five homers, set power record in Baltimore, overshadowing cycle by Orioles’ Villar," 6 Aug. 2019 On an 0-1 pitch, Davis, who has no steals in 2019, broke for second. Nathan Ruiz,, "Jonathan Villar hits for cycle, but Orioles allow more home run records in 9-6 loss to Yankees," 6 Aug. 2019 Aaron Craft — who made a name for himself during his time as a Buckeye on the defensive end — had a TBT career-high seven steals. Stephen Means,, "Carmen’s Crew headed to TBT Championship for the first time: Buckeye Breakfast," 5 Aug. 2019 In justifying the White House's protectionist stance, American trade negotiators say China forces U.S. companies to reveal trade secrets, steals intellectual property and unfairly subsidizes Chinese technology companies. Alain Sherter, CBS News, "Stocks and oil prices plunge moments after Trump threatens China with new 10% tariff," 1 Aug. 2019 Ricky Gatter added two hits, two runs and a steal, Gunnar Nix drove in three runs and Josh Costello scored three times for South. Anchorage Daily News, "Defending champion Juneau survives 1st-round scare at Legion baseball tournament," 27 July 2019

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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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with steal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for steal

Spanish Central: Translation of steal

Nglish: Translation of steal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of steal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on steal

What made you want to look up steal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a haphazard or makeshift solution

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