9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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
  • Sooner or later, an unknown startup or a true maverick will sneak up behind these squabbling old timers and steal the pot of gold.
  • Economic freedom leads to peace, and governments are using mythical climate change to try to steal more of our freedom.
  • They began to rewrite history, steal from others, and it worked.
  • steal this hotel room's romantic look with inexpensive red sheer fabric hung above the bed.
  • Note that they had to get really close to the gold to steal it.
  • We don't recycle nuclear fuel because it is valuable and people steal it.
  • On the outside, he would live in bombed-out buildings and conspire with companions to steal bread and fruit from open-air shops.
  • Try fooling a hungry dog to steal meal from its dish without getting bitten.
  • We study biological systems and try to steal ideas from nature to apply to technology.
  • The next step after penetrating networks to steal data is to disrupt or manipulate them.
British Dictionary definitions for steal


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

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 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



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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