What does "stake" mean?

What do you associate the word “stake” in the word “stakeholder” with?

  1. stock( the capital raised by a company through the issue and subscription of shares)
  2. a strong post with a point at the end, driven into the ground
  3. a sum of money gambled on a risky game or venture
  4. others

If I just see “stake” I think of the pole. And vampires, because that is the way you kill them according to the myth.

But if it’s in the sense of stakeholders, I think of the business sense.

Hopefully that helps.

Thank you for your reply, SolYViento.
What do stakeholders “hold” in a business sense?

(from Dictionary.com)

2. a monetary or commercial interest, investment, share, or involvement in something, as in hope of gain: I have a big stake in the success of the firm.


  1. a person or group owning a significant percentage of a company’s shares
  2. a person or group not owning shares in an enterprise but affected by or having an interest in its operations, such as the employees, customers, local community, etc.

It’s kind of confusing really and I don’t even have any money to invest but I believe it’s as follows:

Stakeholder: I think it’s anyone who is affected by the company.
Employees, stockholders, customers, who knows.

I confuse it with stockholder and shareholder which just have stock in the company. But the words are similar.

Thank you, Peter.

  1. a person or group owning a significant percentage of a company’s shares

Is that really a good definition?


Not to argue, it just seems to go against most meanings I see elsewhere.

Thank you, SolYVient.

Don’t you associate “stake” with steak?

I think a shareholder is a stakeholder (automatically), hence the first definition.

Those who are not shareholders would need to fall under the second definition. So, hypothetically, if you had a meeting of all the stakeholders of a given company, you would have shareholders, employees, customers etc.

But I’m sure the term is used differently in different countries and even in different companies.
In my previous job, people would even refer to the stakeholders of our department of the company. So we had internal stakeholders and external stakeholders.

I imagine that a shareholder as a “stakeholder” don’t necessarily have a long-term interest in the organization, in which he, she or it has a stake.

What is the real “stake” of stakeholders?

(I corrected my original message with the “edit” function, which has been introduced recently.)