[ stee-puhl-cheys ]
See synonyms for steeplechase on
  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.

  1. a footrace run on a cross-country course or over a course having obstacles, such as ditches, hurdles, or the like, which the runners must clear.

verb (used without object),stee·ple·chased, stee·ple·chas·ing.
  1. to ride or run in a steeplechase.

Origin of steeplechase

First recorded in 1790–1800; steeple + chase1; so called because the course was kept by sighting a church steeple as the goal

Other words from steeplechase

  • stee·ple·chas·er, noun

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

How to use steeplechase in a sentence

  • The researchers collected results from major competitions for the marathon, 10,000 meters, 5,000 meters, and 3,000-meter steeplechase, as well as the 50K and 20K racewalks.

  • So I want to thank you for the way you celebrated after winning the 10,000-meters at the 2008 Olympic Trials, when you took an impromptu bath in the steeplechase water pit on your victory lap.

  • She is also a veteran steeplechase jockey who had to put weights in her jodhpurs to keep her mount on the horse.

    The Sensitive Soldier | Gail Sheehy | November 11, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The others fell into his wake, and the procession moved across country like a steeplechase.

    Cap'n Eri | Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • After he had won—fairly won—the Yanyilla steeplechase, should he go to my father and ask for the wife he had won?

    The Moving Finger | Mary Gaunt

British Dictionary definitions for steeplechase


/ (ˈstiːpəlˌtʃeɪs) /

  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

  1. archaic

    • a horse race across a stretch of open countryside including obstacles to be jumped

    • a rare word for point-to-point

  1. (intr) to take part in a steeplechase

Origin of steeplechase

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

Derived forms of steeplechase

  • steeplechasing, noun

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