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[theev] /θiv/
verb (used with object), thieved, thieving.
to take by theft; steal.
verb (used without object), thieved, thieving.
to act as a thief; commit theft; steal.
Origin of thieve
before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)
Related forms
thievingly, adverb
outthieve, verb (used with object), outthieved, outthieving. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for thieve
Historical Examples
  • Though (consults another book) some jurists believe That a wretch who can thieve, Has earned a full stop, not a colon.

    Three Wonder Plays Lady I. A. Gregory
  • The leaders will thieve and collaborate with organized crime.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • There will be fences about the fields, and no Indians to thieve and kill.

  • They break into the wells as rats do into granaries, and thieve the water.

    Song of the Lark Willa Cather
  • The father quietly observed, “I never knew the dog to thieve before.”

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • Most of them thieve when they have an opportunity, and this you will have to guard against.

    The Second String Nat Gould
  • Only they shall not starve, they shall not thieve, they shall not be sweated.

  • I tell you again, I shrank from the horror of hearing you lie, after the horror of seeing you thieve.

    The Moonstone Wilkie Collins
  • But what of a man who will take a gift with one hand and thieve with the other?

  • I never did such a thing as thieve, Sir, if you'll believe me.

    Dombey and Son Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for thieve


to steal (someone's possessions)
Derived Forms
thievery, noun
Word Origin
Old English thēofian, from thēofthief
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 thieve

Old English þeofian, from þeof (see thief). Rare in Old English, not common until 17c. Thieving first attested 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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