Someone's stead is their position, or occupation. The eager understudy to starring role leapt at the chance to serve in the lead actor's stead when he mysteriously got food poisoning.

Stead comes from the Germanic root for "place, town," but we usually use it for a person's place, and most frequently when someone is serving as a substitute. If you serve in someone's stead, you're doing their job for them while they're not there. You probably intuitively know this word from the more common instead, which is just a shortening for "in the stead of."

Definitions of stead

n the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another

“can you go in my stead?”
lieu, place, position
as the agent of or on someone's part (usually expressed as "on behalf of" rather than "in behalf of")
Type of:
function, office, part, role
the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.