Denotation vs. Connotation


[steel] /stil/
verb (used with object), stole, stolen, stealing.
to take (the property of another or others) without permission or right, especially secretly or by force:
A pickpocket stole his watch.
to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.
to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance:
He stole my girlfriend.
to move, bring, convey, or put secretly or quietly; smuggle (usually followed by away, from, in, into, etc.):
They stole the bicycle into the bedroom to surprise the child.
Baseball. (of a base runner) to gain (a base) without the help of a walk or batted ball, as by running to it during the delivery of a pitch.
Games. to gain (a point, advantage, etc.) by strategy, chance, or luck.
to gain or seize more than one's share of attention in, as by giving a superior performance:
The comedian stole the show.
verb (used without object), stole, stolen, stealing.
to commit or practice theft.
to move, go, or come secretly, quietly, or unobserved:
She stole out of the house at midnight.
to pass, happen, etc., imperceptibly, gently, or gradually:
The years steal by.
Baseball. (of a base runner) to advance a base without the help of a walk or batted ball.
Informal. an act of stealing; theft.
Informal. the thing stolen; booty.
Informal. something acquired at a cost far below its real value; bargain:
This dress is a steal at $40.
Baseball. the act of advancing a base by stealing.
steal someone's thunder, to appropriate or use another's idea, plan, words, etc.
Origin of steal
before 900; 1860-65 for def 5; Middle English stelen, Old English stelan; cognate with German stehlen, Old Norse stela, Gothic stilan
Related forms
stealable, adjective
stealer, noun
nonstealable, adjective
outsteal, verb (used with object), outstole, outstolen, outstealing.
Can be confused
burglarize, mug, rip off, rob, steal (see synonym study at rob)
steal, steel, stele. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for steal away
Historical Examples
  • The Count's intentions are very base in planning to steal away his wife and kill him when he is without defence.

    Four Arthurian Romances Chretien DeTroyes
  • They thought, perhaps, they could steal away from the town unnoticed.

    The Trail Book Mary Austin
  • For she fancied that the best way to chastise his covetousness would be to steal away his wealth.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
  • Come what would, I must steal away and hail him as soon as ever I could escape for an hour or so.

    Kilgorman Talbot Baines Reed
  • He never heard him steal away during the night, and was simply amazed when told of his desertion.

    Trumpeter Fred Charles King
  • How would you like any one to steal away one of your brushes?

    My Friend Smith Talbot Baines Reed
  • "As to put an enemy in his mouth to steal away his brains," said the Professor.

    The Funny Philosophers George Yellott
  • I hate to steal away from friends, as if you were running from the law.

    The Great Sioux Trail Joseph Altsheler
  • But with all his cunning he fails in prudence; it is not in his nature to steal away silently.

  • So she would get up and steal away with the first gleam of light.

    The Dust Flower Basil King
British Dictionary definitions for steal away


verb steals, stealing, stole, stolen
to take (something) from someone, etc without permission or unlawfully, esp in a secret manner
(transitive) to obtain surreptitiously
(transitive) to appropriate (ideas, etc) without acknowledgment, as in plagiarism
to move or convey stealthily: they stole along the corridor
(intransitive) to pass unnoticed: the hours stole by
(transitive) to win or gain by strategy or luck, as in various sports: to steal a few yards
steal a march on, to obtain an advantage over, esp by a secret or underhand measure
steal someone's thunder, to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him
steal the show, to be looked upon as the most interesting, popular, etc, esp unexpectedly
noun (informal)
the act of stealing
something stolen or acquired easily or at little cost
Word Origin
Old English stelan; related to Old Frisian, Old Norse stela Gothic stilan, German stehlen
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
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Word Origin and History for steal away



Old English stelan "to commit a theft" (class IV strong verb; past tense stæl, past participle stolen), from Proto-Germanic *stelanan (cf. Old Saxon stelan, Old Norse, Old Frisian stela, Dutch stelen, Old High German stelan, German stehlen, Gothic stilan), of unknown origin.

Most IE words for steal have roots in notions of "hide," "carry off," or "collect, heap up." Attested as a verb of stealthy motion from c.1300 (e.g. to steal away, late 14c.); of glances, sighs, etc., from 1580s. To steal (someone) blind first recorded 1974.


"a bargain," by 1942, American English colloquial, from steal (v.). Baseball sense of "a stolen base" is from 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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steal away in Medicine

steal (stēl)
The diversion of blood flow from its normal course.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for steal away



One's constant and only boyfriend or girlfriend (1897+)

Related Terms

go steady

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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