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[per-loin, pur-loin] /pərˈlɔɪn, ˈpɜr lɔɪn/
verb (used with object)
to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.
verb (used without object)
to commit theft; steal.
Origin of purloin
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English purloynen < Anglo-French purloigner to put off, remove, equivalent to pur- (< Latin prō- pro-1) + -loigner, derivative of loin at a distance, far off < Latin longē
Related forms
purloiner, noun
unpurloined, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for purloin
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He broke into outhouses with an axe he managed to purloin in a wood-cutters' camp.

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
  • He must purloin it before then—that very night, if possible.

    The Burglars' Club Henry A. Hering
  • The great object is to purloin it by force or by fraud from those who have created it.

  • I managed to purloin a lantern from the kitchen to light our path.

    Our Next-Door Neighbors Belle Kanaris Maniates
  • Did I not purloin it because I was so high-minded as to want to win a game of chess from you?

    Henry VIII And His Court Louise Muhlbach
  • Why didn't they purloin a beer-stein, quiescent on a japanned tray?

    My Actor-Husband Anonymous
  • When I did first purloin the Queen's tarts last summer, methought to eat them.

  • But what could there be in the will to cause her to purloin it?

    A Woman's Burden Fergus Hume
  • The discipline was rigorous, and all that he could purloin was a few candle-ends.

British Dictionary definitions for purloin


to take (something) dishonestly; steal
Derived Forms
purloiner, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French porloigner to put at a distance, from por- for +loin distant, from Latin longus long
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
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Word Origin and History for purloin

mid-14c., "remove, misappropriate," from Anglo-French purloigner "remove," Old French porloigner "put off, retard, delay, drag out; be far away," from por- (from Latin pro- "forth;" see pro-) + Old French loing "far," from Latin longe, from longus (see long (adj.)). Sense of "to steal" (1540s) is a development in English. Related: Purloined; purloining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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