from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To take (the property of another) without right or permission.
  • intransitive verb To present or use (someone else's words or ideas) as one's own.
  • intransitive verb To get or take secretly or artfully.
  • intransitive verb To give or enjoy (a kiss) that is unexpected or unnoticed.
  • intransitive verb To draw attention unexpectedly in (an entertainment), especially by being the outstanding performer.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To advance safely to (another base) during the delivery of a pitch, without the aid of a base hit, walk, passed ball, or wild pitch.
  • intransitive verb To steal another's property.
  • intransitive verb To move, happen, or elapse stealthily or unobtrusively.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To steal a base.
  • noun The act of stealing.
  • noun Slang A bargain.
  • noun Baseball A stolen base.
  • noun Basketball An act of gaining possession of the ball from an opponent.
  • idiom (steal (someone's) thunder) To use, appropriate, or preempt the use of another's idea, especially to one's own advantage and without consent by the originator.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An act or a case of: theft: as, an official steal; specifically, in baseball. a stolen or furtive run from one base to another: as, a steal to third base. See steal, transitive verb, 9.
  • To take feloniously; take and carry off clandestinely, and without right or leave; appropriate to one's own uses dishonestly, or without right, permission, or authority: as applied to persons, to kidnap; abduct: as, to steal some one's purse; to steal cattle; to steal a child.
  • To remove, withdraw, or abstract secretly or stealthily.
  • To smuggle, literally or figuratively.
  • To take or assume without right.
  • To obtain surreptitiously, or by stealth or surprise: as, to steal a kiss.
  • To entice or win by insidious arts or secret means.
  • To perform, procure, or effect in a stealthy or underhand way; perform secretly; conceal the doing, performance, or accomplishment of.
  • To move furtively and slyly: as, she stole her hand into his.
  • In base-ball, to secure, as a base or run, without an error by one's opponents or a base-hit by the batter; to run successfully to, as from one base to the next, in spite of the efforts of one's opponents: as, to steal second base: sometimes used intransitively with to: as, to steal to second base.
  • In netting, to take away (a mesh) by netting into two meshes of the preceding row at once.
  • Synonyms To filch, pilfer, purloin, embezzle. See pillage, n.
  • To practise or be guilty of theft.
  • To move stealthily or secretly; creep softly; pass, approach, or withdraw surreptitiously and unperceived; go or come furtively; slip or creep along insidiously, silently, or unperceived; make insinuating approach: as, to Steal into the house at dusk; the fox stole away: sometimes used reflexively.
  • noun In golf, a long putt which wins a hole.
  • In cricket, to gain (a run) and increase the score because of the slowness of the fielders: said of the batsman.
  • In golf, to hole (a long, unlikely putt) so that the ball just drops into the hole.
  • noun Same as stale.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To practice, or be guilty of, theft; to commit larceny or theft.
  • intransitive verb To withdraw, or pass privily; to slip in, along, or away, unperceived; to go or come furtively.
  • noun Archaic or Prov. Eng. A handle; a stale, or stele.
  • transitive verb To take, and carry away, feloniously; to take without right or leave, and with intent to keep wrongfully.
  • transitive verb To withdraw or convey clandestinely (reflexive); hence, to creep furtively, or to insinuate.
  • transitive verb To gain by insinuating arts or covert means.
  • transitive verb To get into one's power gradually and by imperceptible degrees; to take possession of by a gradual and imperceptible appropriation; -- with away.
  • transitive verb To accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner; to try to carry out secretly.
  • transitive verb to march in a covert way; to gain an advantage unobserved; -- formerly followed by of, but now by on or upon, and sometimes by over; as, to steal a march upon one's political rivals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To illegally, or without the owner's permission, take possession of something by surreptitiously taking or carrying it away.
  • verb transitive To get or effect surreptitiously or artfully.
  • verb transitive To copy copyright-protected work without permission.
  • verb transitive, colloquial To acquire at a low price.
  • verb transitive To draw attention unexpectedly in (an entertainment), especially by being the outstanding performer. Usually used in the phrase steal the show.
  • verb intransitive To move silently or secretly.
  • verb transitive, baseball To advance safely to (another base) during the delivery of a pitch, without the aid of a hit, walk, passed ball, wild pitch, or defensive indifference.
  • verb sports, transitive To dispossess
  • noun The act of stealing.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan, from Proto-Germanic *stelanan (compare Dutch stelen, German stehlen, Norwegian stjele), either from Proto-Indo-European *ster- (compare Welsh herw ("theft, raid"), Ancient Greek στερέω (stereō, "to deprive of")) or Proto-Indo-European*stel(H)- (“to stretch”) (compare Albanian pë/mbështjell ("I confuse, mess up, mix, wrap up") , Old Church Slavonic  (steljǫ, "I spread out (bed, roof)"), Ancient Greek τηλία (tēlía, "playing table")).


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