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stake a claim

Also, stake out a claim. Indicate something as one's own, as in I'm staking a claim to the drumstick, or She staked out a claim for herself in the insurance business. This term, dating from the mid-1800s, originally meant “register a claim to land by marking it with stakes.” It was being used figuratively by the late 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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