Definition of steal verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//stiːl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stiːl//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they steal
    BrE BrE//stiːl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stiːl//
    he / she / it steals
    BrE BrE//stiːlz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stiːlz//
    past simple stole
    BrE BrE//stəʊl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stoʊl//
    past participle stolen
    BrE BrE//ˈstəʊlən//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstoʊlən//
    -ing form stealing
    BrE BrE//ˈstiːlɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstiːlɪŋ//
    Baseball, Committing crime
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to take something from a person, shop/store, etc. without permission and without intending to return it or pay for it steal (from somebody/something) We found out he'd been stealing from us for years. I'll report you to the police if I catch you stealing again. steal something (from somebody/something) My wallet was stolen. I had my wallet stolen. Thieves stole jewellery worth over £10 000. It's a crime to handle stolen goods. (figurative) to steal somebody’s ideas CollocationsCrimeCommitting a crime commit a crime/​a murder/​a violent assault/​a brutal killing/​an armed robbery/​fraud be involved in terrorism/​a suspected arson attack/​people smuggling/​human trafficking engage/​participate in criminal activity/​illegal practices/​acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody’s wallet/​purse/(British English) mobile phone/(North American English) cell phone rob a bank/​a person/​a tourist break into/ (British English) burgle/ (North American English) burglarize a house/​a home/​an apartment hijack a plane/​ship/​bus smuggle drugs/​weapons/​arms/​immigrants launder drug money (through something) forge documents/​certificates/​passports take/​accept/​pay somebody/​offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing/​an email/​an Internet scamFighting crime combat/​fight crime/​terrorism/​corruption/​drug trafficking prevent/​stop credit-card fraud/​child abuse/​software piracy deter/​stop criminals/​burglars/​thieves/​shoplifters/​vandals reduce/​tackle/​crack down on knife/​gun/​violent/​street crime; (especially British English) antisocial behaviour foil a bank raid/​a terrorist plot help/​support/​protect the victims of crimeInvestigating crime report a crime/​a theft/​a rape/​an attack/(especially British English) an incident to the police witness the crime/​attack/​murder/​incident investigate a murder/(especially North American English) a homicide/​a burglary/​a robbery/​the alleged incident conduct/​launch/​pursue an investigation (into…); (especially British English) a police/​murder inquiry investigate/​reopen a criminal/​murder case examine/​investigate/​find fingerprints at the crime scene/​the scene of crime collect/​gather forensic evidence uncover new evidence/​a fraud/​a scam/​a plot/​a conspiracy/​political corruption/​a cache of weapons describe/​identify a suspect/​the culprit/​the perpetrator/​the assailant/​the attacker question/​interrogate a suspect/​witness solve/​crack the case See related entries: Committing crime
  2. 2[intransitive] + adv./prep. to move secretly and quietly so that other people do not notice you synonym creep She stole out of the room so as not to wake the baby. (figurative) A chill stole over her body.
  3. 3[transitive] steal something (in baseball) to run to the next base before another player from your team hits the ball, so that you are closer to scoring He tried to steal second base but was out. See related entries: Baseball
  4. Word OriginOld English stelan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch stelen and German stehlen.Extra examples I had my wallet stolen. I’ll report you to the police if I catch you stealing again. Thieves stole jewellery worth over $10 000. We found out he’d been stealing from us for years.Idioms
    steal a glance/look (at somebody/something)
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    to look at somebody/something quickly so that nobody sees you doing it
    steal somebody’s heart
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    (literary) to make somebody fall in love with you See related entries: Love
    steal a kiss (from somebody)
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    (literary) to kiss somebody suddenly or secretly
    steal a march (on somebody)
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    [no passive] to gain an advantage over somebody by doing something before them The company is looking at ways to steal a march on its European competitors.
    [no passive] to attract more attention and praise than other people in a particular situation As always, the children stole the show. British bands stole the show at this year’s awards.
    steal somebody’s thunder
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    to get the attention, success, etc. that somebody else was expecting, usually by saying or doing what they had intended to say or do
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: steal