- a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force; one guilty of theft or larceny.
Origin of thief
SynonymsSee more synonyms for thief on Thesaurus.com
- to take by theft; steal.
- to act as a thief; commit theft; steal.
Origin of thieve
Examples from the Web for thieves
Last month I turned and faced their surreptitious security: “Catch any thieves today?”‘Why Have I Lost Control?’: Cory Booker in ’92 on Rodney King Echoes Ferguson
November 26, 2014
He suspects that he saw, somehow, what the thieves saw, tapping into their perception of the back of the house.Knocking on Heaven's Door: True Stories of Unexplained, Uncanny Experiences at the Hour of Death
August 11, 2014
Typically most women carry their concealed firearms in their purses, the main target of thieves.A Gun Owner Speaks: My Case for Open Carry
June 12, 2014
Indeed, a condition of rampant, endemic political corruption is known as a “kleptocracy”—literally, “rule by thieves.”Ehud Olmert’s Sentencing Won’t Be a Day of Reckoning for Israel’s Leaders
May 15, 2014
Megan Boken was one of many slain by thieves going ‘Apple picking.’The Best of the Beast, May 5-12
The Daily Beast
May 10, 2014
He also is the chief of the police force and catches the thieves.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
He would not have been embarrassed if they had been the Forty Thieves.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
I do not hold diplomatic relations with thieves and vagabonds.In the Midst of Alarms
Their thieves are the most daring and their agents the most cunning.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
They are thieves—they will steal from you before your very face, so devoid are they of all shame.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
- to steal (someone's possessions)
- a person who steals something from another
- criminal law a person who commits theft
Word Origin and History for thieves
Old English þeof, from Proto-Germanic *theubaz (cf. Old Frisian thiaf, Old Saxon thiof, Middle Dutch dief, Old High German diob, German dieb, Old Norse þiofr, Gothic þiufs), probably from PIE *teup- (cf. Lithuanian tupeti "to crouch down").
Old English þeofian, from þeof (see thief). Rare in Old English, not common until 17c. Thieving first attested 1520s.