steal

[ steel ]
/ stil /

verb (used with object), stole, sto·len, steal·ing.

verb (used without object), stole, sto·len, steal·ing.

noun

Idioms

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

Origin of steal

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

Related forms

steal·a·ble, adjectivesteal·er, nounnon·steal·a·ble, adjectiveout·steal, verb (used with object), out·stole, out·sto·len, out·steal·ing.

Can be confused

burglarize mug rip off rob steal (see synonym study at rob)steal steel stele

Word story

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.

Definition for steal someone's thunder (2 of 2)

thunder

[ thuhn-der ]
/ ˈθʌn dər /

noun

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to strike, drive, inflict, give forth, etc., with loud noise or violent action.

Origin of thunder

before 900; (noun) Middle English thonder, thunder, Old English thunor; cognate with Dutch donder, German Donner; Old Norse thōrr Thor, literally, thunder; (v.) Middle English thondren, Old English thunrian, derivative of the v.; akin to Latin tonāre to thunder

Related forms

thun·der·er, nounthun·der·less, adjectiveout·thun·der, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for steal someone's thunder (1 of 2)

thunder

/ (ˈθʌndə) /

noun

verb

Derived Forms

thunderer, nounthundery, adjective

Word Origin for thunder

Old English thunor; related to Old Saxon thunar, Old High German donar, Old Norse thōrr; see Thor, Thursday

British Dictionary definitions for steal someone's thunder (2 of 2)

steal

/ (stiːl) /

verb steals, stealing, stole or stolen

noun informal

the act of stealing
something stolen or acquired easily or at little cost

Word Origin for 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

Medicine definitions for steal someone's thunder

steal

[ stēl ]

n.

The diversion of blood flow from its normal course.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for steal someone's thunder

thunder

[ thŭndər ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for steal someone's thunder (1 of 2)

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.”

Culture definitions for steal someone's thunder (2 of 2)

thunder


The noise created when air rushes back into a region from which it has been expelled by the passage of lightning.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with steal someone's thunder (1 of 2)

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.”

Idioms and Phrases with steal someone's thunder (2 of 2)

thunder


see under steal someone's thunder.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.