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




something that is wagered in a game, race, or contest.
a monetary or commercial interest, investment, share, or involvement in something, as in hope of gain: I have a big stake in the success of the firm.
a personal or emotional concern, interest, involvement, or share: Parents have a big stake in their children's happiness.
the funds with which a gambler operates.
Often stakes. a prize, reward, increase in status, etc., in or as if in a contest.
stakes. Poker. the cash values assigned to the various colored chips, various bets, and raises: Our stakes are 5, 10, and 25 cents: you can bet out 10 cents on a pair and reraise twice at 25 cents.

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

to risk (something), as upon the result of a game or the occurrence or outcome of any uncertain event, venture, etc.: He staked his reputation on the success of the invention.
to furnish (someone) with necessaries or resources, especially money: They staked me to a good meal and a train ticket.

Origin of stake

First recorded in 1520–30; origin uncertain

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

Examples from the Web for stake

Contemporary Examples of stake

Historical Examples of stake

  • Of course you'll do it, and you could do it better if you had three or four times the stake you got.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • We'll land that stake; an' p'raps the sharp division'll take a tumble.


    W. A. Fraser

  • By golly, we'll stake her to a hay knife and tell her to go after him!

  • Eulalia, when at the stake, breathes the flame that she may die the more quickly.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Why, that must mean the stake yonder; that must be the mark.

British Dictionary definitions for stake




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 stake

"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 stake


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.