Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

stake - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun stake pronunciation in American English /steɪk/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [countable] a wooden or metal post with a pointed end that is used for supporting or marking something
    1. a.

      the stake

      a thick wooden pole that someone was tied to and burned in the past as a punishment
      be burned at the stake:

      Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

  2. 2
    [countable] an amount of money that you risk losing when you try to guess the result of a race or competition

    He liked gambling, but only for small stakes.

    1. a.


      [plural] the things that you can gain or lose by taking a risk, for example in business or politics
      high stakes (=a lot that could be won or lost):

      With such high stakes, the atmosphere was tense.

      raise the stakes (=risk gaining or losing more):

      The Americans have raised the stakes in a bitter fight over imports.

  3. 3
    [countable] business the part of a business that you own because you have invested money in it
    stake in:

    They took a 40% stake in the company last year.

    a majority/minority stake (=more/less than half):

    Coca-Cola has a majority stake in the company.

    1. a.
      [usually singular] the degree to which you are involved in something and want it to succeed
      have a stake in (doing) something:

      He has a huge stake in making the peace process work.

  4. 4


    [plural] used in the names of some horse races

    the Pimlico Stakes

    1. a.
      used for talking about a competition or comparison that seems like a race

      Who are the main contenders in the party leadership stakes?

      in the popularity/fitness/beauty etc. stakes:

      They’re running neck and neck in the popularity stakes.

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play