• synonyms


[per-loin, pur-loin]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to commit theft; steal.
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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. 2018

Related Words for purloin

pilfer, filch, misappropriate, embezzle, burglarize, shoplift, poach, pillage, cheat, pinch, heist, thieve, plunder, appropriate, lift, take, snitch, defraud, swindle

Examples from the Web for purloin

Contemporary Examples of purloin

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


  1. to take (something) dishonestly; steal
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper