[per-loin, pur-loin]

verb (used with object)

to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.

verb (used without object)

to commit theft; steal.

Origin of purloin

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 formspur·loin·er, nounun·pur·loined, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purloin

Contemporary Examples of purloin

  • If a thief gets a load of said bags, he'll pop right out of your mattress and purloin them.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Heinous Investment Advice

    Andy Borowitz

    March 23, 2009

Historical Examples of purloin

  • 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?

British Dictionary definitions for purloin



to take (something) dishonestly; steal
Derived Formspurloiner, noun

Word Origin for purloin

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

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