[ rob-uh-ree ]
/ ˈrɒb ə ri /
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noun, plural rob·ber·ies.
the act, the practice, or an instance of robbing.
Law. the felonious taking of the property of another from his or her person or in his or her immediate presence, against his or her will, by violence or intimidation.


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Compare theft.

Origin of robbery

1150–1200; Middle English robberie<Old French. See rob, -ery


an·ti·rob·ber·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does robbery mean?

Robbery is the act of robbing—stealing, especially by force or through threats of violence.

Someone who commits robbery is called a robber.

Robbery can involve robbing a person or a place, such as a house or business. The robbery of a person on the street is often called a mugging. The act of robbing a bank is called bank robbery. Armed robbery involves robbing a person or place while armed with a weapon.

Robbery is a kind of theft, which is the act of stealing. However, the word theft often refers to a case in which a thief steals something without anyone noticing, at least not when the theft is taking place. In contrast, a case in which a person steals by using force, violence, or threats of violence would more likely be called a robbery.

The word rob can also be used in a kind of figurative way meaning to unfairly deprive someone of something, but robbery is usually only used in a literal sense.

Example: Police have released sketches of the suspects in the hopes that someone can identify the men involved in the robbery.

Where does robbery come from?

The first records of the word robbery come from the 1100s. It comes from the Middle English robberie.

The word robbery is commonly used in the term bank robbery. That’s probably because money is the most popular thing to steal, and the bank is where the money is.

The word robbery appears in the term highway robbery, which refers to excessive overcharging. It likens a price that’s considered way too high to theft, as in Ten bucks for a hot dog? That’s highway robbery!

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What are some other forms related to robbery?

What are some words that share a root or word element with robbery

What are some words that often get used in discussing robbery?


How is robbery used in real life?

You’re most likely to encounter the word robbery in news reports.



Try using robbery!

Is robbery used correctly in the following sentence? 

The movie is about a bank robbery that goes terribly wrong.

How to use robbery in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for robbery

/ (ˈrɒbərɪ) /

noun plural -beries
criminal law the stealing of property from a person by using or threatening to use force
the act or an instance of robbing
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with robbery


see daylight robbery; highway robbery.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.