- to steal, especially in small quantities.
Origin of pilfer
1540–50; v. use of late Middle English pilfre booty < Middle French pelfre. See pelf
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
thieve, purloin, filch, appropriate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pilfering
Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, its former ally, on the pretext, never proven, that Kuwait was pilfering oil from Iraq.Invaders and the Lies They Tell From Nazi Germany to Russia and the US
March 7, 2014
Could it be that the old gentleman suspected him of pilfering?The Boy Life of Napoleon
She had only had one great fault: she was inclined to pilfering.The Fortune of the Rougons
In short, their pilfering and stealing is a perfect nuisance.A Tour in Ireland
They have no pilfering, and the few locks and bolts are rarely needed.
Stealing and pilfering is carried on extensively all over the city.Birdseye Views of Far Lands
James T. Nichols
- to steal (minor items), esp in small quantities
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
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