View synonyms for thieve


[ theev ]

verb (used with object)

, thieved, thiev·ing.
  1. to take by theft; steal.

verb (used without object)

, thieved, thiev·ing.
  1. to act as a thief; commit theft; steal.


/ θiːv /


  1. to steal (someone's possessions)

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Derived Forms

  • ˈthievery, noun

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Other Words From

  • thieving·ly adverb
  • outthieve verb (used with object) outthieved outthieving

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thieve1

before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)

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Word History and Origins

Origin of thieve1

Old English thēofian, from thēof thief

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Example Sentences

Not until Ed O’Bannon won his judgment in court and pried back his name-image-likeness rights did the NCAA stop thieving from students.

Observe thief, but thieves and to thieve; loaf, but loaves; shelf, but shelves and to shelve.

I had not been with them twelve hours, before old Fulcher told me that I must thieve as well as the rest.

The father quietly observed, “I never knew the dog to thieve before.”

I havent the slightest doubt that I would thieve again at the earliest opportunity.

Here, as at most places, the natives of inferior rank showed a disposition to thieve.


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More About Thieve

What does thieve mean?

To thieve is to steal—to commit theft.

A person who thieves is a thief. The words thief and theft are often used in situations in which a person steals in secret and without using force or violence. However, the word thieve is used in the context of all kinds of thefts, even violent ones. Thieve often implies that such thieving is done habitually or as part of a criminal lifestyle.

The related word thievery can mean the same thing as theft, but it typically refers to the practice of thieving—thieves lead a life of thieving and thievery.

Thieve is sometimes followed by the thing that will be or has been stolen, as in I just realized my kids have been thieving the coins from the fountain. 

Thieve should not be confused with a form of the noun thief or its plural, thieves.

Example: He is a pirate, a rogue—he thieves and plunders without remorse.

Where does thieve come from?

The first records of the word thieve come from before 950. It comes from the Old English thēofian.

A person who thieves or has a tendency to thieve can be described as thievish or thieving, as in Come back here, you lying, thieving rapscallion! Thieve and related words like thievery and thieving can sometimes sound a bit old-timey, like they’re out of a classic adventure novel.

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What are some other forms related to thieve?

What are some synonyms for thieve?

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


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

How is thieve used in real life?

Thieve is not commonly used. When it is, it often implies that the person doing the thieving does so as part of leading a life of crime.

Try using thieve!

Which of the following actions could be considered a case of thieving?

A. shoplifting
B. pickpocketing
C. bank robbery
D. all of the above

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