Definition of

Stake

  1. (noun, artifact) a strong wooden or metal post with a point at one end so it can be driven into the ground
  2. (noun, artifact) instrument of execution consisting of a vertical post that a victim is tied to for burning
  3. (noun, communication) 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
  4. (noun, possession) (law) a right or legal share of something; a financial involvement with something
    a stake in the company's future
  5. (noun, possession) the money risked on a gamble
  6. (verb, competition) place a bet on
    I'm betting on the new horse
  7. (verb, contact) kill by piercing with a spear or sharp pole
  8. (verb, contact) mark with a stake
  9. (verb, contact) tie or fasten to a stake
  10. (verb, social) put at risk

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Stake

  1. "pointed stick or post," O.E. staca, from P.Gmc. *stakon (cf. O.N. stiaki, Du. staak, Ger. stake), from PIE base *steg- "pole, stick." The Gmc. word has been borrowed in Sp. (estaca), O.Fr. (estaque), and It. stacca) and was borrowed back as attach. Meaning "post upon which persons were bound for death by burning" i… more
  2. early 14c., "to mark (land) with stakes," from stake (n.). Hence, to stake a claim (1857). Meaning "to risk, wager" is attested from 1520s, probably from notion of "post on which a gambling wager was placed," though Weekley suggests "there is a tinge of the burning or baiting metaphor" in this usage. Noun meaning "that which is placed at hazard" is recorded from 1530s. P… more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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