Definition for STAKE

STAKE, n. [Sax. stac; D. staak; Sw. stake; Ir. stac; It. steccone, a stake; stecca, a stick; steccare, to fence with stakes; Sp. estaca, a stake, a stick. This coincides with stick, noun and verb, with stock, stage, &c. The primary sense is to shoot, to thrust, hence, to set, or fix.]

  1. A small piece of wood or timber, sharpened at one end and set in the ground, or prepared for setting, as a support to something. Thus stakes are used to support vines, to support fences, hedges and the like. A stake is not to be confounded with a post, which is a larger piece of timber.
  2. A piece of long rough wood. A sharpen'd stake strong Dryas found. – Dryden.
  3. A palisade, or something resembling it. – Milton.
  4. The piece of timber to which a martyr is fastened when he is to be burnt. Hence, to perish at the stake, is to die a martyr, or to die in torment. Hence,
  5. Figuratively, martyrdom. The stake was prepared for those who were convicted of heresy.
  6. That which is pledged or wagered; that which is set, thrown down, or laid, to abide the issue of a contest, to be gained by victory or lost by defeat.
  7. The state of being laid or pledged as a wager. His honor is at stake.
  8. A small anvil to straighten cold work, or to cut and punch upon. – Moxon.

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