[ thee-vuh-ree ]
/ ˈθi və ri /
Save This Word!

noun, plural thiev·er·ies.
the act or practice of thieving; theft.
something taken by theft.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of thievery

First recorded in 1560–70; thieve + -ery
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does thievery mean?

Thievery is the practice of thieving—stealing. Thieves lead a life of thievery.

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 thievery is used in the context of all kinds of thefts, even violent ones. Thieve and thievery often imply that such activity is habitual or part of a criminal lifestyle.

Example: He is a pirate, a rogue—he knows nothing but lies and thievery.

Where does thievery come from?

The first records of the word thievery comes from the 1560s. Its base word, the verb thieve, comes from the Old English thēofian. The suffix -ery is used to form nouns and indicates a practice or occupation.

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

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to thievery?

What are some synonyms for thievery?

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


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

How is thievery used in real life?

Thievery often implies that the person doing the thieving does so as part of leading a life of crime.


Try using thievery!

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

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

How to use thievery in a sentence