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[stee-puh l-cheys] /ˈsti pəlˌtʃeɪs/
a horse race over a turf course furnished with artificial ditches, hedges, and other obstacles over which the horses must jump.
a point-to-point race.
a foot race run on a cross-country course or over a course having obstacles, as ditches, hurdles, or the like, which the runners must clear.
verb (used without object), steeplechased, steeplechasing.
to ride or run in a steeplechase.
Origin of steeplechase
1795-1805; steeple + chase1; so called because the course was kept by sighting a church steeple
Related forms
steeplechaser, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for steeplechase
Historical Examples
  • You might as well look out for a soft spot to fall in a steeplechase.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • He, evidently, was never born to be killed in a steeplechase.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
  • Now I will wager a red pippin that I can tell what you said at the steeplechase to the steeplestakes.

    The Paliser case Edgar Saltus
  • Well, Oi was telling ye about the steeplechase Jimmy Brook rode.

  • Soon after I left the stable there was a steeplechase, and he determined to ride.

    Black Beauty Anna Sewell
  • I do not think his going and riding in the steeplechase was an act of direct disobedience.

    Amos Huntingdon T.P. Wilson
  • Off they went, through the air—quick as if they were on a steeplechase.

    Bits of Blarney R. Shelton Mackenzie
  • He's a steeplechase jock, gener'ly, though he's good on the flat, too.

    Bulldog Carney W. A. Fraser
  • Yes; wonderfully like the ladies we met at the steeplechase, were they not?

    Thereby Hangs a Tale George Manville Fenn
  • It is true, it is a steeplechase between the reporters and us.

British Dictionary definitions for steeplechase


a horse race over a course equipped with obstacles to be jumped, esp artificial hedges, ditches, water jumps, etc
a track race, usually of 3000 metres, in which the runners have to leap hurdles, a water jump, etc
  1. a horse race across a stretch of open countryside including obstacles to be jumped
  2. a rare word for point-to-point
(intransitive) to take part in a steeplechase
Derived Forms
steeplechasing, noun
Word Origin
C19: so called because it originally took place cross-country, with a church tower serving as a landmark to guide the riders
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for steeplechase

1793 (earlier steeplehunt, 1772), from steeple + chase (n.). Originally a race with a visible church steeple as a goal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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