[ theef ]
See synonyms for: thiefthieves on

noun,plural thieves.
  1. a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force; one guilty of theft or larceny.

Origin of thief

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English thēof; cognate with Dutch dief,German Dieb,Old Norse thjōfr,Gothic thiufs

synonym study For thief

Thief, robber refer to one who steals. A thief takes the goods or property of another by stealth without the latter's knowledge: like a thief in the night. A robber trespasses upon the house, property, or person of another, and makes away with things of value, even at the cost of violence: A robber held up two women on the street.

Other words for thief

Other words from thief

  • un·der·thief, noun, plural un·der·thieves.

Words that may be confused with thief

  • robber, thief (see synonym study at the current entry)

Words Nearby thief Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use thief in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for thief


/ (θiːf) /

nounplural thieves (θiːvz)
  1. a person who steals something from another

  2. criminal law a person who commits theft

Origin of thief

Old English thēof; related to Old Frisian thiāf, Old Saxon thiof, Old High German diob, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs

Derived forms of thief

  • thievish, adjective
  • thievishly, adverb
  • thievishness, noun

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