• synonyms


[stee-puh l-cheys]
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  1. a horse race over a turf course furnished with artificial ditches, hedges, and other obstacles over which the horses must jump.
  2. a point-to-point race.
  3. a foot race run on a cross-country course or over a course having obstacles, as ditches, hurdles, or the like, which the runners must clear.
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verb (used without object), stee·ple·chased, stee·ple·chasing.
  1. to ride or run in a steeplechase.
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Origin of steeplechase

1795–1805; steeple + chase1; so called because the course was kept by sighting a church steeple
Related formsstee·ple·chas·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for steeplechase

Historical Examples

  • You might as well look out for a soft spot to fall in a steeplechase.

    Sir Jasper Carew

    Charles James Lever

  • He, evidently, was never born to be killed in a steeplechase.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan

    Charles James Lever

  • Now I will wager a red pippin that I can tell what you said at the steeplechase to the steeplestakes.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • Well, Oi was telling ye about the steeplechase Jimmy Brook rode.

  • Soon after I left the stable there was a steeplechase, and he determined to ride.

    Black Beauty

    Anna Sewell

British Dictionary definitions for steeplechase


  1. a horse race over a course equipped with obstacles to be jumped, esp artificial hedges, ditches, water jumps, etc
  2. a track race, usually of 3000 metres, in which the runners have to leap hurdles, a water jump, etc
  3. archaic
    1. a horse race across a stretch of open countryside including obstacles to be jumped
    2. a rare word for point-to-point
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  1. (intr) to take part in a steeplechase
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Derived Formssteeplechasing, noun

Word Origin

C19: so called because it originally took place cross-country, with a church tower serving as a landmark to guide the riders
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 steeplechase


1793 (earlier steeplehunt, 1772), from steeple + chase (n.). Originally a race with a visible church steeple as a goal.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper