1 noun
1 SHARP POST (C) a pointed piece of wood, metal etc that is pushed into the ground to hold a rope, mark a particular place etc
2 the stake a post to which a person was tied in former times to be killed by being burnt: burn sb at the stake: Witches were often burnt at the stake.
3 have a stake in to have an important part or share in a business, plan etc so that you will gain if it succeeds: a 33% stake in the business | I just don't feel I have a stake in the country's future.
4 be at stake if something that you value very much is at stake, you will lose it if a plan or action is not successful: If we lose the contract, hundreds of jobs are at stake.
5 (be prepared to) go to the stake for/over sth to take great risks to protect or defend an idea, belief etc: That's my opinion, but I wouldn't go to the stake for it.
6 RISK (countable usually singular) money risked on the result of something, especially a horse race; bet 2 (1)
7 stakes (plural) money that people risk on the result of a game, race, etc, all of which is taken by the winner: We're playing for very high stakes here.
8 play for high stakes
a) to risk a lot of money in a game
b) to be in a situation where you gain or lose a lot
9 the popularity/fashion etc stakes a situation that can be considered as if it were a competition: Ben wouldn't score very highly in the popularity stakes.
10 pull up stakes AmE up stakes BrE informal to leave your job or home: We're going to pull up stakes and move to Montana.
2 verb (T)
1 to risk money on a race or competition: Hargreave staked his whole fortune on one card game.
2 to risk losing something that is valuable or important to you, if a plan or action is not successful: stake sth on sb/sth: The President is staking his reputation on these trade talks. | I've staked all my hopes on you.
3 also stake up to fasten or strengthen something with stakes: Those young trees will have to be staked.
4 also stake off to mark or enclose an area of ground with stakes: The muddiest corner of the field has been staked off.
5 stake (out) a claim to say publicly that you think you have a right to have or own something: Joe staked his claim to the land where he found the gold.
stake sth out phrasal verb (T) informal to watch a place secretly and continuously: The vice squad have been staking out the club for weeks. — stakeout noun (C)

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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