1. A piece of wood or metal pointed at one end for driving into the ground as a marker, fence pole, or tent peg.
a. A vertical post to which an offender is bound for execution by burning.
b. Execution by burning. Used with the: condemned to the stake.
3. A vertical post secured in a socket at the edge of a platform, as on a truck bed, to help retain the load.
4. Mormon Church A territorial division consisting of a group of wards under the jurisdiction of a president.
5. Sports & Games
a. often stakes Money or property risked in a wager or gambling game.
b. The prize awarded the winner of a contest or race.
c. A race offering a prize to the winner, especially a horserace in which the prize consists of money contributed equally by the horse owners.
a. A share or an interest in an enterprise, especially a financial share.
b. Personal interest or involvement: a stake in her children's future.
7. Something, such as a crucial change or grave consequence, that may result from a situation: The stakes are high in the mayoral election.
8. A grubstake.
tr.v. staked, stak·ing, stakesPhrasal Verb:
a. To mark the location or limits of with stakes. Often used with out: staked out a garden patch.
b. To claim, establish, or register as one's own. Often used with out: staked out a mining claim at the office; staked out a place for herself in the library.
a. To fasten, secure, or support with a stake or stakes: staked down the tent; staked the shrubs.
b. To tether or tie to a stake.
c. To impale with a stake.
3. To gamble or risk; hazard: staked his week's pay on the horse race; staked the campaign on a promise of a tax cut.
4. To provide with money; finance: staked him to the money for the tickets.
5. Sports To provide a lead for: Her homer staked her team to a two-run lead.
1. To keep (a building, for example) under surveillance.
2. To assign (a police officer, for example) to an area to conduct surveillance: The police were staked out across the street from the apartment.
At risk; in question.
[Middle English, from Old English staca.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.