A stake is a wooden stick, sharpened on one end and used to mark property lines (or slay a vampire).

In the Middle Ages, people would gamble by placing their bets on wooden posts, or stakes. Eventually the bets themselves became known as stakes. Today, you can use the word as a verb to describe any risky endeavor — for example, "Geoffrey staked his sandwich-making reputation on a six-foot hero with salami and pickles." A stake can also be an investment. If you say that "Bill has a stake in the business," it means he’s a part-owner.

Definitions of stake
  1. noun
    a strong wooden or metal post with a point at one end so it can be driven into the ground
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an upright consisting of a piece of timber or metal fixed firmly in an upright position
  2. noun
    a pole or stake set up to mark something (as the start or end of a race track)
    “the corner of the lot was indicated by a stake
    synonyms: post
    see moresee less
    starting post
    a post marking the starting point of a race (especially a horse race)
    winning post
    the post at the end of a racecourse
    type of:
    visual signal
    a signal that involves visual communication
  3. noun
    instrument of execution consisting of a vertical post that a victim is tied to for burning
    see moresee less
    type of:
    instrument of execution
    an instrument designed and used to take the life of a condemned person
  4. verb
    mark with a stake
    stake out the path”
    synonyms: post
    see moresee less
    type of:
    make or leave a mark on
  5. verb
    tie or fasten to a stake
    stake your goat”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    fasten, fix, secure
    cause to be firmly attached
  6. verb
    kill by piercing with a spear or sharp pole
    synonyms: impale
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly
  7. noun
    (law) a right or legal share of something; a financial involvement with something
    “a stake in the company's future”
    synonyms: interest
    see moresee less
    show 20 types...
    hide 20 types...
    funds advanced to a prospector or to someone starting a business in return for a share of the profits
    controlling interest
    ownership of more than 50% of a corporation's voting shares
    insurable interest
    an interest in a person or thing that will support the issuance of an insurance policy; an interest in the survival of the insured or in the preservation of the thing that is insured
    vested interest
    (law) an interest in which there is a fixed right to present or future enjoyment and that can be conveyed to another
    security interest
    any interest in a property that secures the payment of an obligation
    terminable interest
    an interest in property that terminates under specific conditions
    undivided interest, undivided right
    the interest in property owned by tenants whereby each tenant has an equal right to enjoy the entire property
    an interest in land capable of being inherited
    the ownership interest of shareholders in a corporation
    (law) an interest in an estate that reverts to the grantor (or his heirs) at the end of some period (e.g., the death of the grantee)
    (frequently plural) the interest possessed by law or custom in some intangible thing
    fee simple
    a fee without limitation to any class of heirs; they can sell it or give it away
    fee tail
    a fee limited to a particular line of heirs; they are not free to sell it or give it away
    sweat equity
    interest in a building that a tenant earns by contributing to its renovation or maintenance
    a reversion to the state (as the ultimate owner of property) in the absence of legal heirs
    a deposit of personal property as security for a debt
    a conditional conveyance of property as security for the repayment of a loan
    conditional sale
    a security interest taken by the seller in return for credit
    a security pledged for the repayment of a loan
    the right to take another's property if an obligation is not discharged
    type of:
    part, percentage, portion, share
    assets belonging to or due to or contributed by an individual person or group
  8. noun
    the money risked on a gamble
    synonyms: bet, stakes, wager
    see moresee less
    jackpot, kitty, pot
    the cumulative amount involved in a game (such as poker)
    (poker) the initial contribution that each player makes to the pot
    kitty, pool
    the combined stakes of the betters
    type of:
    money that is risked for possible monetary gain
  9. verb
    put at risk
    “I will stake my good reputation for this”
    synonyms: adventure, hazard, jeopardize, venture
    see moresee less
    type of:
    lay on the line, put on the line, risk
    expose to a chance of loss or damage
  10. verb
    place a bet on
    synonyms: back, bet on, gage, game, punt
    see moresee less
    place one's stake
    double up, parlay
    stake winnings from one bet on a subsequent wager
    type of:
    bet, play, wager
    stake on the outcome of an issue
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week