a person who steals money, wallets, etc., from the pockets of people, as in crowded public places.

verb (used with object)

to steal (a wallet, money, etc.) in the manner of a pickpocket.
to steal from (a person) in the manner of a pickpocket.

Origin of pickpocket

First recorded in 1585–95; pick1 + pocket
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for pickpocket

thief, dipper, finger, cutpurse

Examples from the Web for pickpocket

Contemporary Examples of pickpocket

Historical Examples of pickpocket

  • Her one relation was a brother of high standing as a pickpocket.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When there is no more to be got out of them, he turns burglar or pickpocket, or robs a temple.

  • More likely because the old chap has no watch and chain for the pickpocket to steal.

  • In the grandest scale he is called a financier; in the meanest, a pickpocket.

  • "Crowd chasing a pickpocket, I imagine," said Trencher indifferently.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb

British Dictionary definitions for pickpocket



a person who steals from the pockets or handbags of others in public places
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 pickpocket

also pick-pocket, 1590s, from pick (v.) + pocket (n.). Earlier was pick-purse (late 14c.). As a verb from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper