(stole; stolen; stealing)
Etymology: Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan; akin to Old High German stelan to steal
Date: before 12th century
1. to take the property of another wrongfully and especially as a habitual or regular practice
2. to come or go secretly, unobtrusively, gradually, or unexpectedly
3. to steal or attempt to steal a base
a. to take or appropriate without right or leave and with intent to keep or make use of wrongfully <stole a car> b. to take away by force or unjust means <they've stolen our liberty> c. to take surreptitiously or without permission <steal a kiss> d. to appropriate to oneself or beyond one's proper share ; make oneself the focus of <steal the show> 2. a. to move, convey, or introduce secretly ; smuggle b. to accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner <steal a visit> 3. a. to seize, gain, or win by trickery, skill, or daring <a basketball player adept at stealing the ball> <stole the election> b. of a base runner to reach (a base) safely solely by running and usually catching the opposing team off guard • stealable adjective • stealer noun Synonyms: steal, pilfer, filch, purloin mean to take from another without right or without detection. steal may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to intangibles as well as material things <steal jewels> <stole a look at the gifts>. pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts <pilfered from his employer>. filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously <filched an apple from the tray>. purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes <printed a purloined document>. II. noun Date: circa 1825 1. the act or an instance of stealing 2. a fraudulent or questionable political deal 3. bargain 2 <it's a steal at that price>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.