steal someone's thunder


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.

before 900; 1860–65 for def 5; Middle English stelen, Old English stelan; cognate with German stehlen, Old Norse stela, Gothic stilan

stealable, adjective
stealer, noun
nonstealable, adjective
outsteal, verb (used with object), outstole, outstolen, outstealing.

1. burglarize, mug, rip off, rob, steal (see synonym study at rob) ; 2. steal, steel, stele. Unabridged


a loud, explosive, resounding noise produced by the explosive expansion of air heated by a lightning discharge.
any loud, resounding noise: the thunder of applause.
a threatening or startling utterance, denunciation, or the like.
verb (used without object)
to give forth thunder (often used impersonally with it as the subject): It thundered last night.
to make a loud, resounding noise like thunder: The artillery thundered in the hills.
to utter loud or vehement denunciations, threats, or the like.
to speak in a very loud tone.
to move or go with a loud noise or violent action: The train thundered through the village.
verb (used with object)
to strike, drive, inflict, give forth, etc., with loud noise or violent action.
steal someone's thunder,
to use for one's own purposes and without the knowledge or permission of the originator the inventions or ideas of another.
to ruin or detract from the effect of a performance, remark, etc., by anticipating it.

before 900; (noun) Middle English thonder, thunder, Old English thunor; cognate with Dutch donder, German Donner; Old Norse thōrr Thor, literally, thunder; (v.) Middle English thondren, Old English thunrian, derivative of the v.; akin to Latin tonāre to thunder

thunderer, noun
thunderless, adjective
outthunder, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
steal (stiːl)
vb , steals, stealing, stole, stolen
1.  to take (something) from someone, etc without permission or unlawfully, esp in a secret manner
2.  (tr) to obtain surreptitiously
3.  (tr) to appropriate (ideas, etc) without acknowledgment, as in plagiarism
4.  to move or convey stealthily: they stole along the corridor
5.  (intr) to pass unnoticed: the hours stole by
6.  (tr) to win or gain by strategy or luck, as in various sports: to steal a few yards
7.  steal a march on to obtain an advantage over, esp by a secret or underhand measure
8.  steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him
9.  steal the show to be looked upon as the most interesting, popular, etc, esp unexpectedly
10.  the act of stealing
11.  something stolen or acquired easily or at little cost
[Old English stelan; related to Old Frisian, Old Norse stela Gothic stilan, German stehlen]

thunder (ˈθʌndə)
1.  a loud cracking or deep rumbling noise caused by the rapid expansion of atmospheric gases which are suddenly heated by lightning
2.  any loud booming sound
3.  rare a violent threat or denunciation
4.  steal someone's thunder to detract from the attention due to another by forestalling him or her
5.  to make (a loud sound) or utter (words) in a manner suggesting thunder
6.  (intr; with it as subject) to be the case that thunder is being heard
7.  (intr) to move fast and heavily: the bus thundered downhill
8.  (intr) to utter vehement threats or denunciation; rail
[Old English thunor; related to Old Saxon thunar, Old High German donar, Old Norse thōrr; see Thor, Thursday]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. þunor, from P.Gmc. *thunraz (cf. O.N. þorr, O.Fris. thuner, M.Du. donre, Du. donder, O.H.G. donar, Ger. Donner "thunder"), from PIE *(s)tene- "to resound, thunder" (cf. Skt. tanayitnuh "thundering," Pers. tundar "thunder," L. tonare "to thunder"). Swed. tordön is lit. "Thor's din."
The intrusive -d- is also found in Du. and Icelandic versions of the word. The verb is O.E. þunrian; fig. sense of "to speak loudly, threateningly, bombastically" is recorded from c.1340. Thunderbolt is from c.1440; thunderclap is from c.1386; thunderstruck is from 1613, originally fig.; the lit. sense always has been rare. Thunderhead "high-piled cloud" is recorded from 1861.

O.E. stelan "to commit a theft" (class IV strong verb; past tense stæl, pp. stolen), from P.Gmc. *stelanan (cf. O.S. stelan, O.N., O.Fris. stela, Du. stelen, O.H.G. stelan, Ger. stehlen, Goth. 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, c.1369); of glances, sighs, etc., from 1586. The noun meaning "a bargain" is Amer.Eng. colloquial attested by 1942; baseball sense of "a stolen base" is from 1867. To steal (someone) blind first recorded 1974.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

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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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
thunder   (thŭn'dər)  Pronunciation Key 
The explosive noise that accompanies a stroke of lightning. Thunder is a series of sound waves produced by the rapid expansion of the air through which the lightning passes. Sound travels about 1 km in 3 seconds (about 1 mi in 5 seconds). The distance between an observer and a lightning flash can be calculated by counting the number of seconds between the flash and the thunder. See Note at lightning.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

steal someone's thunder definition

To upstage someone; to destroy the effect of what someone does or says by doing or saying the same thing first: “The Republicans stole the Democrats' thunder by including the most popular provisions of the Democratic proposal in their own bill.”

thunder definition

The noise created when air rushes back into a region from which it has been expelled by the passage of lightning.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Thunder definition

often referred to in Scripture (Job 40:9; Ps. 77:18; 104:7). James and John were called by our Lord "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17). In Job 39:19, instead of "thunder," as in the Authorized Version, the Revised Version translates (ra'amah) by "quivering main" (marg., "shaking"). Thunder accompanied the giving of the law at Sinai (Ex. 19:16). It was regarded as the voice of God (Job 37:2; Ps. 18:13; 81:7; comp. John 12:29). In answer to Samuel's prayer (1 Sam. 12:17, 18), God sent thunder, and "all the people greatly feared," for at such a season (the wheat-harvest) thunder and rain were almost unknown in Palestine.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

steal someone's thunder

Use or appropriate another's idea, especially to one's advantage, as in It was Harold's idea but they stole his thunder and turned it into a massive advertising campaign without giving him credit. This idiom comes from an actual incident in which playwright and critic John Dennis (1657-1734) devised a "thunder machine" (by rattling a sheet of tin backstage) for his play, Appius and Virginia (1709), and a few days later discovered the same device being used in a performance of Macbeth, whereupon he declared, "They steal my thunder."

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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