• 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

Related Words for steeplechase

steeplechase, raid, hunting, probe, prosecution, interrogation, quest, race, inquiry, investigation, exploration, pursuit, inquisition, sporting, trailing, inquest, research, pursuing, rummage, seeking

Examples from the Web for steeplechase

Historical Examples of steeplechase

  • 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 for steeplechase

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