verb (used with object), staked, stak·ing.

Verb Phrases

stake out,
  1. to keep (a suspect) under police surveillance.
  2. to appoint (a police officer) to maintain constant watch over a suspect or place.


    pull up stakes, Informal. to leave one's job, place of residence, etc.; move: They pulled up stakes and went to California.

Origin of stake

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English staca pin; cognate with Dutch staak, German Stake, Old Norse -staki (in lȳsistaki candlestick); akin to stick1; (v.) Middle English staken to mark (land) with stakes, derivative of the noun

Synonyms for stake Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pull up stakes

decamp, depart, leave, move, split, vacate

British Dictionary definitions for pull up stakes




a stick or metal bar driven into the ground as a marker, part of a fence, support for a plant, etc
one of a number of vertical posts that fit into sockets around a flat truck or railway wagon to hold the load in place
a method or the practice of executing a person by binding him to a stake in the centre of a pile of wood that is then set on fire
Mormon Church an administrative district consisting of a group of wards under the jurisdiction of a president
pull up stakes to leave one's home or temporary resting place and move on

verb (tr)

to tie, fasten, or tether with or to a stake
(often foll by out or off) to fence or surround with stakes
(often foll by out) to lay (a claim) to land, rights, etc
to support with a stake

Word Origin for stake

Old English staca pin; related to Old Frisian staka, Old High German stehho, Old Norse stjaki; see stick 1




the money or valuables that a player must hazard in order to buy into a gambling game or make a bet
an interest, often financial, held in somethinga stake in the company's future
(often plural) the money that a player has available for gambling
(often plural) a prize in a race, etc, esp one made up of contributions from contestants or owners
(plural) horse racing a race in which all owners of competing horses contribute to the prize money
US and Canadian informal short for grubstake (def. 1)
at stake at risktwo lives are at stake
raise the stakes
  1. to increase the amount of money or valuables hazarded in a gambling game
  2. to increase the costs, risks, or considerations involved in taking an action or reaching a conclusionthe Libyan allegations raised the stakes in the propaganda war between Libya and the United States

verb (tr)

to hazard (money, etc) on a result
to invest in or support by supplying with money, etcto stake a business enterprise

Word Origin for stake

C16: of uncertain origin
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

Word Origin and History for pull up stakes



"pointed stick or post," Old English staca, from Proto-Germanic *stakon (cf. Old Norse stiaki, Dutch staak, German stake), from PIE root *steg- "pole, stick." The Germanic word has been borrowed in Spanish (estaca), Old French (estaque), and Italian stacca) and was borrowed back as attach. Meaning "post upon which persons were bound for death by burning" is recorded from c.1200. Stake-body as a type of truck is attested from 1907. In pull up stakes, "The allusion is to pulling up the stakes of a tent" [Bartlett].



early 14c., "to mark (land) with stakes," from stake (n.1). Hence, to stake a claim (1857). Meaning "to risk, wager" is attested from 1520s, probably from notion of "post on which a gambling wager was placed," though Weekley suggests "there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor" in this usage. Meaning "to maintain surveilance" (usually stake out) is first recorded 1942, American English colloquial, probably form earlier sense of "mark off territory." Related: Staked; staking.



"that which is placed at hazard," 1530s, from stake (v.). Plural stakes, as in horse racing, first recorded 1690s (cf. sweepstakes). To have a stake in is recorded from 1784.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pull up stakes

pull up stakes

Move away, leave one's home, job, or country. For example, We've lived here for years, but now it's time to pull up stakes. This expression alludes to the stakes that mark property boundaries. [Early 1800s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with stake

  • stake a claim
  • stake out

also see:

  • at stake
  • burn at the stake
  • have a stake in
  • pull up stakes
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.