[stee-puh l-cheys]
  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.
verb (used without object), stee·ple·chased, stee·ple·chasing.
  1. to ride or run in a steeplechase.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for steeplechaser

Historical Examples of steeplechaser

  • The joy, too, of the engine-driver and the steeplechaser is upon us.

  • I bought him thinking that he might make a steeplechaser, as rogues on the flat often develop into good "'chasers."

  • Then gradually he slowed up his steeplechaser, jerking powerfully at the bridles.

    The Incendiary

    W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy

  • Horses are very sporting animals, and the love of competition is inherent in them all, from the hack to the steeplechaser.

    The Horsewoman

    Alice M. Hayes

  • "Yerra, that one'd make a steeplechaser if he got the trainin'," declared Murty, all his troubles forgotten.

    Back To Billabong

    Mary Grant Bruce

British Dictionary definitions for steeplechaser


  1. a horse or an athlete that takes part in steeplechases


  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
  1. (intr) to take part in a steeplechase
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 steeplechaser



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper