First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Steal mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Steal

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Steal
A handle; a stale, or stele.

Etymology: See Stale a handle

verb Steal
  1. To take, and carry away, feloniously; to take without right or leave, and with intent to keep wrongfully; as, to steal the personal goods of another."Maugre thy heed, thou must for indigence Or steal, or beg, or borrow, thy dispense." [Chaucer.]"The man who stole a goose and gave away the giblets in alms." [G. Eliot.]
  2. To withdraw or convey clandestinely (reflexive); hence, to creep furtively, or to insinuate."They could insinuate and steal themselves under the same by their humble carriage and submission." [Spenser.]"He will steal himself into a man's favor." [Shak.]
  3. To gain by insinuating arts or covert means."So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." [2 Sam. xv. 6.]
  4. To get into one's power gradually and by imperceptible degrees; to take possession of by a gradual and imperceptible appropriation; -- with away."Variety of objects has a tendency to steal away the mind from its steady pursuit of any subject." [I. Watts.]
  5. To accomplish in a concealed or unobserved manner; to try to carry out secretly; as, to steal a look."Always, when thou changest thine opinion or course, profess it plainly, . . . and do not think to steal it." [Bacon.]"She yesterday wanted to steal a march of poor Liddy." [Smollett.]"Fifty thousand men can not easily steal a march over the sea." [Walpole.]
    synonyms: To filch; pilfer; purloin; thieve.

Etymology: OE. stelen, AS. stelan; akin to OFries. stela, D. stelen, OHG. stelan, G. stehlen, Icel. stela, SW. stjäla, Dan. stiæle, Goth. stilan

verb Steal
  1. To practice, or be guilty of, theft; to commit larceny or theft."Thou shalt not steal." [Ex. xx. 15.]
  2. To withdraw, or pass privily; to slip in, along, or away, unperceived; to go or come furtively."Fixed of mind to avoid further entreaty, and to fly all company, one night she stole away." [Sir P. Sidney.]"From whom you now must steal, and take no leave." [Shak.]"A soft and solemn breathing sound Rose like a steam of rich, distilled perfumes, And stole upon the air." [Milton.]
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A stolen base; an instance in which a base runner advances safely during the delivery of a pitch (without the help of a hit or walk or passed ball or wild pitch)
  2. An advantageous purchase
  3. Steal a base
  4. Move stealthily
  5. Take without the owner's consent

From Middle English stelen, from Old English stelan, from Proto-Germanic *stelaną (compare West Frisian stelle, Low German stehlen, Dutch stelen, German stehlen, Danish stjæle, Norwegian stjele).

etymology notes

Proposed etymologies beyond Germanic are numerous and include

  • Proto-Indo-European *ster-: compare Welsh herw (“theft, raid”), Ancient Greek στερέω (steréō, “to deprive of”)
  • Proto-Indo-European *stel(H)- (“to stretch”): compare Albanian pë/mbështjell (“I confuse, mess up, mix, wrap up”), Old Church Slavonic стєлѭ (steljǫ, “I spread out (bed, roof)”), Ancient Greek τηλία (tēlía, “playing table”)
  • Proto-Indo-European *tsel- (“to sneak”): compare Sanskrit त्सरति (tsárati, “creep, sneak up on”) and other forms under Pokorny 5. *sel- "schleichen, kriechen"
  1. The act of stealing.
  2. A piece of merchandise available at a very attractive price.
    At this price, this car is a .
  3. (basketball, ice hockey) A situation in which a defensive player actively takes possession of the ball or puck from the opponent's team.
  4. (baseball) A stolen base.
  5. (curling) Scoring in an end without the hammer.
  6. (computing) A policy in database systems that a database follows which allows a transaction to be written on nonvolatile storage before its commit occurs.

Fun Facts about the name Steal

  • When was the first name Steal first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Steal is Monday, May 11th, 1931.
  • How unique is the name Steal? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Steal. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Steal: Your name in reverse order is Laets. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Elsat. How do you pronounce that?

What Steals Have Visited This Page?

Past life for Steal born Feb 23, 1925

I do not know how you feel about it, but you were a female in your last earthly incarnation. You were born somewhere around the territory of Mexico approximately on 1575. Your profession was writer, dramatist, and organizer of rituals.

You had a mind of a scientist, always seeking new explanations. Environment often misunderstood you. Had a respectable knowledge. Magic is everywhere around you, in most usual, most ordinary incidents. Your lesson - to learn magic and to help people to see it clearly. You are a magician!

Name poster for Steal

Name poster for Steal(click to save the high quality version)

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.