a person who steals goods from the shelves or displays of a retail store while posing as a customer.

Origin of shoplifter

1670–80; obsolete shoplift shoplifter (shop + lift) + -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shoplifter

Contemporary Examples of shoplifter

Historical Examples of shoplifter

  • Robert Bull'—he read the first name on the list—'Robert Bull, shoplifter.

  • How dexterous are the hands of the shoplifter, but to what a wretched course have they been trained!

  • In New York as soon as one did that she'd be nabbed on the way out for a shoplifter.

  • “Laponi does bear a slight resemblance to the shoplifter,” Rosanna admitted thoughtfully.

  • Two drunks come in with the first batch, and a couple of crooks who had been working the 'elevated'; and a woman, a shoplifter.

    Felix O'Day

    F. Hopkinson Smith

British Dictionary definitions for shoplifter



a person who steals goods from a shop during shopping hours
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 shoplifter

1670s, from shop (n.) + agent noun of lift (v.). Also in same sense shop-lift (1670s); shop-thief.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper