[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 purloiner

Historical Examples of purloiner

  • At night the purloiner marched to his plunder, and she revived.

  • I have strong doubts of his being the purloiner of the sword.

  • The purloiner of a clerk's property was ordered to restore threefold .

    The Parish Clerk (1907)

    Peter Hampson Ditchfield

  • Was not the purloiner of my treasure and the wanderer the same person?

    Edgar Huntley

    Charles Brockden Brown

  • The purloiner nodded, and his lips twisted into a smile of triumph, as he thrust the sheet of paper into his own pocket.

    The Roof Tree

    Charles Neville Buck

British Dictionary definitions for purloiner



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 purloiner



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