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pilfer

[pil-fer]
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to steal, especially in small quantities.

Origin of pilfer

1540–50; v. use of late Middle English pilfre booty < Middle French pelfre. See pelf
Related formspil·fer·er, nounun·pil·fered, adjective

Synonyms

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thieve, purloin, filch, appropriate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pilfering

pilfer

verb
  1. to steal (minor items), esp in small quantities
Derived Formspilferer, nounpilfering, noun

Word Origin

C14 pylfre (n) from Old French pelfre booty; see pelf
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pilfering

pilfer

v.

1540s, from pilfer (n.) "spoils, booty," c.1400, from Old French pelfre "booty, spoils" (11c.), of unknown origin, possibly related to pelf. Related: Pilfered; pilfering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper