stake

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Related to stakes: Belmont Stakes, raise the stakes

the stake

Execution by being burned alive while tied to a large wooden stake. The township found her guilty of witchcraft and sentenced her to the stake.
See also: stake

at stake

In jeopardy of being won or lost, or in the process of being determined as a positive or negative outcome. My presentation needs to go perfectly—the big promotion is at stake. Our dream house is at stake here, so we need write the best possible offer.
See also: stake

burn at the stake

1. Literally, to execute someone by tying them to a stake and setting them on fire (a common punishment for heretics in the Middle Ages). A noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "at." Is it true that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake?
2. By extension, to punish someone harshly or excessively. A noun or pronoun can be used between "burn" and "at." The kids definitely should not have broken curfew, but don't burn them at the stake for it. I think the board wants to burn the ex-CEO at the stake for his corrupt business practices.
See also: burn, stake

go to the stake

To be willing to do anything in defense of one's beliefs. These protests are dangerous—are you really ready to go to the stake for your religious beliefs?
See also: stake

raise the stakes

To increase something in pursuit of a better result. A few threats should raise the stakes enough that they finally pay up
See also: raise, stake

stake a claim

To assert one's ownership of or right to something. You can't use this set of skis because someone else already staked a claim to them.
See also: claim, stake

at stake

Fig. ready to be won or lost; at risk; hanging in the balance. That's a very risky investment. How much money is at stake? I have everything at stake on this wager.
See also: stake

burn someone at the stake

 
1. Lit. to set fire to a person tied to a post (as a form of execution). They used to burn witches at the stake.
2. Fig. to chastise or denounce someone severely or excessively. Stop yelling. I made a simple mistake, and you're burning me at the stake for it. Sally only spilled her milk. There is no need to shout. Don't burn her at the stake for it.
See also: burn, stake

have a stake in something

Fig. to have something at risk in something; to have a financial or other interest in something. I have a stake in that company. I want it to make a profit. I don't have a stake in it, so I don't care.
See also: have, stake

pull up stakes

 
1. Lit. to pull up tent stakes to take down a tent in preparation to leaving. Let's pull up stakes and head home before the storm hits.
2. Fig. to end one's ties to a particular place; to get ready to move away from a place where one has lived or worked for a long time. Even after all these years, pulling up stakes is easier than you think. It's time to pull up stakes and move on.
See also: pull, stake, up

stake a claim to someone or something

Fig. to state or record one's claim on someone or something. (Alludes to marking off an area by pounding in wooden stakes.) she staked a claim to Jeff and told all her rivals to stay away. The prospector staked a claim to the gold-rich area.
See also: claim, stake

stake one's reputation on someone or something

to risk harming one's reputation on someone or something. Of course Denise is great. I will stake my reputation on her! It may be so, but I wouldn't stake my reputation on it.
See also: on, reputation, stake

stake out a claim to something

 and stake out a claim on something
to lay claim to something. The prospector staked out a claim to the promising piece of land. We staked out a claim on two seats at the side of the auditorium.
See also: claim, out, stake

stake someone or something out

 
1. to position a person so that someone or something can be observed or followed. The cops staked the car out and made the arrest. Barlowe staked out the apartment building and watched patiently for an hour.
2. to position a person to observe someone or something. He staked his best operative out in front of the building. We staked out two men to keep watch.
See also: out, stake

stake someone to something

to make a loan of something to someone. I will stake you to a hundred bucks if that will help. Jed refused to stake Tex to a loan.
See also: stake

stake something off

to mark out the boundaries of an area of land with stakes. The prospectors staked an area off for themselves. The prospectors staked off an area in which they would look for gold.
See also: off, stake

up stakes

to prepare for leaving and then leave. (Up has the force of a verb here. The phrase suggests pulling up tent stakes in preparation for departure.) They just upped stakes and left without saying good-bye. It's that time of the year when I feel like upping stakes and moving to the country.
See also: stake, up

at stake

At risk to be won or lost, as in We have a great deal at stake in this transaction. This phrase uses stake in the sense of something that is wagered. Shakespeare used it in Troilus and Cressida (3:3): "I see my reputation is at stake." [Late 1500s]
See also: stake

burn at the stake

Execute someone by tying to a stake and burning; also, punish severely. This expression refers to a method used in the Middle Ages for putting heretics to death, but now it is used as a hyperbolic metaphor for harsh punishment, as in She was sure she'd be burned at the stake for losing the contract. In fact, the stake can be used loosely for any extreme punishment. William Makepeace Thackeray so used it in Henry Esmond (1852): "'I know I would go to the stake for you,' said Harry."
See also: burn, stake

have a stake in

Have a share, interest, or involvement in something or someone. For example, Every member had a stake in the business, or She knew that she had a stake in her children's future. This term uses stake in the sense of "something to gain or lose," as in gambling. [Late 1700s]
See also: have, stake

pull up stakes

Move away, leave one's home, job, or country. For example, We've lived here for years, but now it's time to pull up stakes. This expression alludes to the stakes that mark property boundaries. [Early 1800s]
See also: pull, stake, up

stake a claim

Also, stake out a claim. Indicate something as one's own, as in I'm staking a claim to the drumstick, or She staked out a claim for herself in the insurance business. This term, dating from the mid-1800s, originally meant "register a claim to land by marking it with stakes." It was being used figuratively by the late 1800s.
See also: claim, stake

stake out

Keep an area or person under police surveillance; also, assign someone to conduct such a surveillance. For example, They staked out the house, or He was staked out in the alley, watching for drug dealers. [c. 1940]
See also: out, stake

at stake

Something that is at stake could be lost or damaged if something fails. There's a lot of money at stake here. Someone's got to do the thinking around here, especially with our daughter's future at stake.
See also: stake

go to the stake

mainly BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you say that you would go to the stake to defend a principle or aim, you mean that you believe in it completely and would do anything to prove it. It's certainly not a cause that I would go to the stake for. Note: A stake is a wooden post. In the past, people were sometimes tied to a stake and burned alive for refusing to give up beliefs which the church considered heretical and wrong.
See also: stake

have a stake in something

1. If you have a stake in something, you take part in it or it affects you and you care about what happens to it. These meetings are supposed to make everyone feel they have a stake in the decision-making. Your nearest and dearest have a stake in your baby.
2. If you have a stake in something, you own part of it. The partners who have a stake in the company also work with clients.
See also: have, something, stake

stake on

v.
To gamble or risk something on the success or outcome of something else: I was convinced that the horse would win, and I staked a lot of money on the race. Unfortunately, the candidate has staked the election on a story that will be difficult to prove. How much did you stake on the football game?
See also: on, stake

stake out

v.
1. To mark the location or limits of something with or as if with stakes: We walked the boundary of the property and staked it out with orange flags. Pioneers raced to stake out a claim in the new territory.
2. To claim something as one's own: We ran ahead of the others to stake out a campsite. The new executive staked a place out in the organization as a technology expert.
3. To keep someone or something under surveillance: The police staked out the suspect's house. They staked the car out until the owner showed up.
See also: out, stake

pull chocks

and pull up stakes
tv. to leave a place. (see also up stakes.) Time to pull chocks and get out of here. We pulled up stakes and moved on.
See also: chock, pull

pull up stakes

verb
See also: pull, stake, up

stake someone/something out

1. tv. to position a person so that someone or something can be observed or followed. Marlowe staked out the apartment building and watched patiently for an hour.
2. tv. to position a person to observe someone or something. We staked out two men to keep watch.
See also: out, something, stake

stake someone to something

1. tv. to lend or give someone money to buy something. Stake the man to a meal and a flop, and he’ll tell us what we want to know.
2. tv. to treat someone to something. Can I stake you to a drink to celebrate?
See also: something, stake

up stakes

tv. to prepare for leaving and then leave. (Up has the force of a verb here. The phrase suggests pulling up tent stakes in preparation for departure.) It’s that time of the year when I feel like upping stakes and moving to the country.
See also: stake, up

raise the stakes

To increase one's commitment or involvement.
See also: raise, stake

pull up stakes

To clear out; leave: She pulled up stakes in New England and moved to the desert.
See also: pull, stake, up

at stake

At risk; in question.
See also: stake

pull up stakes

To move, usually one's home. This phrase was first used by Virginia colonists in the early 17th century. Jamestown and other settlements were surrounded by wooden palisade stakes as a defense against marauding Native Americans. To change or expand one's residence would have meant moving the barriers too, much easier than to rebuild from scratch. The phrase is sometimes heard as “pick up stakes.” The opposite is “put down stakes.” The British equivalent is “up sticks,” the sticks referring to army tent pegs.
See also: pull, stake, up
References in classic literature ?
The girl saw the stake in the village street and the piles of fagots about it and in terror she suddenly realized the portent of these grisly preparations.
The argument lasted for some five or ten minutes when suddenly the little knot broke and two warriors ran to the opposite side of the village from whence they presently returned with a large stake which they soon set up beside the one already in place.
I will stake that brandy," Trent answered, "against the picture you let fall from your pocket an hour ago.
None of the sharpened stakes had pierced him--only a swollen spot at the base of the brain indicated the nature of his injury.
Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right.
The tribe, under the influence of an indescribable terror, disappeared little by little in the huts, and there was complete solitude around the stake.
The figure at the stake was very still, yet the black warriors were but pricking it.
He wrote "800 rubles" on a card, but while the waiter filled his glass he changed his mind and altered it to his usual stake of twenty rubles.
Now he was to be the central figure, bound to the stake.
You will go tomorrow to the keeper of the Towers and enlist in that game for which the girl is to be the stake, telling the keeper that you are from Manataj, the farthest city of Manator.
I stake myself, and when I make a killing it's sure all mine.
The game," the Bird replied, "is fair as you say; the chances are about even; but consider the stake.
For a stake of one sovereign he undertook to run all the way to Coventry and back, a distance of something more than forty miles.
Observe in a family some old charwoman who can make beds, sweep the floors, carry away the dirty linen, who knows where the silver is kept, how the creditors should be pacified, what persons should be let in and who must be kept out of the house, and such a creature, even if she has all the vices, and is dirty, decrepit, and toothless, or puts into the lottery and steals thirty sous a day for her stake, and you will find the masters like her from habit, talk and consult in her hearing upon even critical matters; she comes and goes, suggests resources, gets on the scent of secrets, brings the rouge or the shawl at the right moment, lets herself be scolded and pushed downstairs, and the next morning reappears smiling with an excellent bouillon.
With these words the apparition turned towards the baron, as if composing himself for a talk--and, what was very remarkable, was, that he threw his cloak aside, and displaying a stake, which was run through the centre of his body, pulled it out with a jerk, and laid it on the table, as composedly as if it had been a walking-stick.