[ steel ]
See synonyms for: stealstealingstolenstole on

verb (used with object),stole, sto·len, steal·ing.
  1. to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.

  2. to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.

  1. to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance: He stole my girlfriend.

  2. to move, bring, convey, or put secretly or quietly; smuggle (usually followed by away, from, in, into, etc.): They stole the bicycle into the bedroom to surprise the child.

  3. Baseball. (of a base runner) to gain (a base) without the help of a walk or batted ball, as by running to it during the delivery of a pitch.

  4. Games. to gain (a point, advantage, etc.) by strategy, chance, or luck.

  5. to gain or seize more than one's share of attention in, as by giving a superior performance: The comedian stole the show.

verb (used without object),stole, sto·len, steal·ing.
  1. to commit or practice theft.

  2. to move, go, or come secretly, quietly, or unobserved: She stole out of the house at midnight.

  1. to pass, happen, etc., imperceptibly, gently, or gradually: The years steal by.

  2. Baseball. (of a base runner) to advance a base without the help of a walk or batted ball.

  1. Informal. an act of stealing; theft.

  2. Informal. the thing stolen; booty.

  1. Informal. something acquired at a cost far below its real value; bargain: This dress is a steal at $40.

  2. Baseball. the act of advancing a base by stealing.

Idioms about steal

  1. steal someone's thunder, to appropriate or use another's idea, plan, words, etc.

Origin of steal

First recorded before 900; 1860–65 for def. 5; Middle English stelen, Old English stelan; cognate with German stehlen, Old Norse stela, Gothic stilan

word story For steal

Steal and its kindred words come from the Germanic root stel- “to rob, steal” (as in Gothic stilan, Old English, Old Frisian, Old High German stelan, German stehlen ); the root has no certain relatives outside Germanic.
The idea of secrecy and concealment is a natural association, as in the words derivative of stel-, such as the noun stealth (Middle English stelthe, stelth, from Germanic stēlithō ), and the verb stalk “to follow or observe secretly or cautiously.” One of the current senses of stalk “to follow or harass someone obsessively over a period of time” dates from the early 1980s.

Other words from steal

  • steal·a·ble, adjective
  • stealer, noun
  • non·steal·a·ble, adjective
  • outsteal, verb (used with object), out·stole, out·sto·len, out·steal·ing.

Words that may be confused with steal

Words Nearby steal Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use steal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for steal


/ (stiːl) /

verbsteals, stealing, stole or stolen
  1. to take (something) from someone, etc without permission or unlawfully, esp in a secret manner

  2. (tr) to obtain surreptitiously

  1. (tr) to appropriate (ideas, etc) without acknowledgment, as in plagiarism

  2. to move or convey stealthily: they stole along the corridor

  3. (intr) to pass unnoticed: the hours stole by

  4. (tr) to win or gain by strategy or luck, as in various sports: to steal a few yards

  5. steal a march on to obtain an advantage over, esp by a secret or underhand measure

  6. steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him

  7. steal the show to be looked upon as the most interesting, popular, etc, esp unexpectedly

  1. the act of stealing

  2. something stolen or acquired easily or at little cost

Origin of steal

Old English stelan; related to Old Frisian, Old Norse stela Gothic stilan, German stehlen

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