“Steel vs “Steal”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Did you know that Steal and steel are homophones?

Homophones are words that sound the same but they have different spellings and meanings. 

Steal is used either as a verb or a noun. Steel can be a noun, verb, or adjective. 

We have outlined some definitions and examples to help make the use of these words better.

Steel vs steal

To elaborate steel vs steal, we will explain each word, their use in parts of speech and meanings.

Steal as a Verb

When steal is used as a verb, it means to take someone’s possession without their permission, get a good purchase deal, or walk in a noiseless manner. As a verb, it can mean to take someone’s possession without their permission, to get a good deal on a purchase, or to move in a noiseless way.

According to the dictionary, these are the meanings;

Take someone’s physical possessions such as personal items, home, land, or figurative possessions like intellectual property, and attention, without their permission.

For Examples:

  • When I was a child, I got into trouble for stealing fish from the street vendor.
  • The big company tried to steal the new employee’s ideas without giving her credit.

Using sales, and bargaining to get a good deal on a purchase.


  • You stole that grocery if you paid anything less than $200.
  • I love going to yard sales and stealing old furniture for cheap prices.

Making a secret or noiseless movement


  • The pickpocket stole through the room without the man noticing.
  • I’m too clumsy to steal across the kitchen at night without waking someone up.

Steal also has other meanings related to sports. 

See also: “Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

Steal (noun)

Steal means taking what belongs to another person, buying an action at a discount and a sports term. These are some of the meanings of steal when used as a noun.

The act of taking what doesn’t belong to you.


  • The robbers pulled off their steal without getting caught.

A bargain on an item.


  • I got these paintings for a steal.
  • If you visit the car garage, you can get a steal on a Lexus Jeep.

As a sports term having different meanings.

Steal the ball in basketball refers to hitting it out of a player’s hands, whereas in baseball it refers to sprinting to a base when the ball is not in play.


  • Their shortstop wasn’t paying attention when the opposing player made a steal.
  • Steals are important for defense in basketball.

Steel as a noun

These are the meanings of steel when used as a noun

A kind of metal composed primarily of iron. 


  • Is that knife made of steel?
  • Superman is nicknamed “the Man of Steel.”

An item made of steel


  • Do you prefer silverware or steel cooking pots?
  • Please, hand me my steel ring.

An item or something with qualities like color, and durability. 


  • Her skin was steel.
  • Do you want a blue, red, or steel color for your new phone?

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples

Steel as an adjective

Use steel in the following ways as an adjective

Something made of steel.


  • They had both steel and iron weapons for sale at the time we visited. 
  • The steel chair is very suitable, however, it hurts my knee. 

Something with quality


  • She had a mind of steel and was unable to forgive him for the mistake. 
  • The boxer had steel abs.

See also: Point of View vs Perspective: Differences and Examples for Writers

Steel as a verb

Uses and meanings of steel as a verb

To cover or fortify with steel.


  • Don’t forget to steel the edges of the chair.
  • Steeling takes a lot of material.

To create something with the strength, appearance, etc. of steel.


  • The foot soldiers steeled themselves against the impending attack in the city.
  • I find it appealing when they steel different kinds of colors together.

When used as a noun, Steel describes a particular kind of metal, objects composed of it, or quality associated with it. 

As an adjective, it describes something made of that metal or similar to it in some way.

As a verb, it implies coating something in steel or giving something the look, and feel, of steel.

Summary of Main Points

  • Steal and steel have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and meanings.
  • Steal usually refers to taking something without someone’s permission either figuratively or literally.
  • Steel usually refers to a type of metal or things that are like that metal.

See also: “Over” vs “More Than”: How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer


Do you steel or steal? Okay, you will get it right if you read this article. Scroll through our website to read more articles that will greatly impact your writing ability.