thief

[theef]
See more synonyms for thief on Thesaurus.com

Origin of thief

before 900; Middle English; Old English thēof; cognate with Dutch dief, German Dieb, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs
Related formsun·der·thief, noun, plural un·der·thieves.
Can be confusedburglar mugger robber thief (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for thief

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burglar, pickpocket, highwayman. 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.

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.

Origin of thieve

before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)
Related formsthiev·ing·ly, adverbout·thieve, verb (used with object), out·thieved, out·thiev·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for thieves

Contemporary Examples of thieves

Historical Examples of thieves

  • 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.

  • Their thieves are the most daring and their agents the most cunning.

  • They are thieves—they will steal from you before your very face, so devoid are they of all shame.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson


British Dictionary definitions for thieves

thieve

verb
  1. to steal (someone's possessions)
Derived Formsthievery, noun

Word Origin for thieve

Old English thēofian, from thēof thief

thief

noun plural thieves (θiːvz)
  1. a person who steals something from another
  2. criminal law a person who commits theft
Derived Formsthievish, adjectivethievishly, adverbthievishness, noun

Word Origin for thief

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

thief

n.

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").

thieve

v.

Old English þeofian, from þeof (see thief). Rare in Old English, not common until 17c. Thieving first attested 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper