- to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force: A pickpocket stole his watch.
- to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.
- to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance: He stole my girlfriend.
- 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.
- 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.
- Games. to gain (a point, advantage, etc.) by strategy, chance, or luck.
- to gain or seize more than one's share of attention in, as by giving a superior performance: The comedian stole the show.
- to commit or practice theft.
- to move, go, or come secretly, quietly, or unobserved: She stole out of the house at midnight.
- to pass, happen, etc., imperceptibly, gently, or gradually: The years steal by.
- Baseball. (of a base runner) to advance a base without the help of a walk or batted ball.
- Informal. an act of stealing; theft.
- Informal. the thing stolen; booty.
- Informal. something acquired at a cost far below its real value; bargain: This dress is a steal at $40.
- Baseball. the act of advancing a base by stealing.
- steal someone's thunder, to appropriate or use another's idea, plan, words, etc.
Origin of steal
- a loud, explosive, resounding noise produced by the explosive expansion of air heated by a lightning discharge.
- any loud, resounding noise: the thunder of applause.
- a threatening or startling utterance, denunciation, or the like.
- to give forth thunder (often used impersonally with it as the subject): It thundered last night.
- to make a loud, resounding noise like thunder: The artillery thundered in the hills.
- to utter loud or vehement denunciations, threats, or the like.
- to speak in a very loud tone.
- to move or go with a loud noise or violent action: The train thundered through the village.
- to strike, drive, inflict, give forth, etc., with loud noise or violent action.
- steal someone's thunder,
- to use for one's own purposes and without the knowledge or permission of the originator the inventions or ideas of another.
- to ruin or detract from the effect of a performance, remark, etc., by anticipating it.
Origin of thunder
- a loud cracking or deep rumbling noise caused by the rapid expansion of atmospheric gases which are suddenly heated by lightning
- any loud booming sound
- rare a violent threat or denunciation
- steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him or her
- to make (a loud sound) or utter (words) in a manner suggesting thunder
- (intr; with it as subject) to be the case that thunder is being heard
- (intr) to move fast and heavilythe bus thundered downhill
- (intr) to utter vehement threats or denunciation; rail
- to take (something) from someone, etc without permission or unlawfully, esp in a secret manner
- (tr) to obtain surreptitiously
- (tr) to appropriate (ideas, etc) without acknowledgment, as in plagiarism
- to move or convey stealthilythey stole along the corridor
- (intr) to pass unnoticedthe hours stole by
- (tr) to win or gain by strategy or luck, as in various sportsto steal a few yards
- steal a march on to obtain an advantage over, esp by a secret or underhand measure
- steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him
- steal the show to be looked upon as the most interesting, popular, etc, esp unexpectedly
- the act of stealing
- something stolen or acquired easily or at little cost
Word Origin and History for steal someone's thunder
Old English þunor, from Proto-Germanic *thunraz (cf. Old Norse þorr, Old Frisian thuner, Middle Dutch donre, Dutch donder, Old High German donar, German Donner "thunder"), from PIE *(s)tene- "to resound, thunder" (cf. Sanskrit tanayitnuh "thundering," Persian tundar "thunder," Latin tonare "to thunder"). Swedish tordön is literally "Thor's din." The intrusive -d- is also found in Dutch and Icelandic versions of the word.
Old English stelan "to commit a theft" (class IV strong verb; past tense stæl, past participle stolen), from Proto-Germanic *stelanan (cf. Old Saxon stelan, Old Norse, Old Frisian stela, Dutch stelen, Old High German stelan, German stehlen, Gothic stilan), of unknown origin.
Most IE words for steal have roots in notions of "hide," "carry off," or "collect, heap up." Attested as a verb of stealthy motion from c.1300 (e.g. to steal away, late 14c.); of glances, sighs, etc., from 1580s. To steal (someone) blind first recorded 1974.
Old English þunrian, from the source of thunder (n.). Figurative sense of "to speak loudly, threateningly, bombastically" is recorded from mid-14c. Related: Thundered; thundering.
"a bargain," by 1942, American English colloquial, from steal (v.). Baseball sense of "a stolen base" is from 1867.
- The diversion of blood flow from its normal course.
- The explosive noise that accompanies a stroke of lightning. Thunder is a series of sound waves produced by the rapid expansion of the air through which the lightning passes. Sound travels about 1 km in 3 seconds (about 1 mi in 5 seconds). The distance between an observer and a lightning flash can be calculated by counting the number of seconds between the flash and the thunder. See Note at lightning.
steal someone's thunder
To upstage someone; to destroy the effect of what someone does or says by doing or saying the same thing first: “The Republicans stole the Democrats' thunder by including the most popular provisions of the Democratic proposal in their own bill.”
The noise created when air rushes back into a region from which it has been expelled by the passage of lightning.
Idioms and Phrases with steal someone's thunder
steal someone's thunder
Use or appropriate another's idea, especially to one's advantage, as in It was Harold's idea but they stole his thunder and turned it into a massive advertising campaign without giving him credit. This idiom comes from an actual incident in which playwright and critic John Dennis (1657–1734) devised a “thunder machine” (by rattling a sheet of tin backstage) for his play, Appius and Virginia (1709), and a few days later discovered the same device being used in a performance of Macbeth, whereupon he declared, “They steal my thunder.”
see under steal someone's thunder.