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[bur-gler] /ˈbɜr glər/
a person who commits burglary.
Origin of burglar
1225-75; Middle English < Anglo-French burgler (compare Anglo-Latin burg(u)lātor), perhaps < Old French *borgl(er) to plunder, pillage (< Gallo-Romance *būriculāre, equivalent to *būric(āre) (Old Low Franconian *būrj(an) to dart at, pounce upon + Vulgar Latin *-icāre v. suffix; compare Old French burgier to strike, hit) + -ulāre v. suffix) + Anglo-French -er -er2; see -ar2
Can be confused
burglar, mugger, robber, thief (see synonym study at thief) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for burglar
  • The campus police suspect the burglar wanted a free computer, not a cache of personal data.
  • It would be firmly fixed so that no burglar could remove it.
  • The researchers used previous studies to add a mathematical description of how attractive a region is to a burglar.
  • Furthermore, you'd better have a good burglar alarm system or a reliable guard dog because house break-ins are frequent.
  • Think of a door lock, a burglar alarm and a tall fence.
  • Many constabularies charge people to register burglar alarm systems and often charge extra for false alarms.
  • It is boosted after natural disasters and during crime waves as infrastructure is renewed and burglar alarms are installed.
  • We all get to decide, individually, if the expense and inconvenience of having a home burglar alarm is worth the security.
  • After a night of drinking and triangular tension, a burglar breaks into their home, leading to a fatal shooting.
  • burglar bars provide a quick, obvious, and relatively easy solution.
British Dictionary definitions for burglar


a person who commits burglary; housebreaker
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French burgler, from Medieval Latin burglātor, probably from burgāre to thieve, from Latin burgus castle, fortress, of Germanic origin
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
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Word Origin and History for burglar

1540s, shortened from Anglo-Latin burglator (late 13c.), earlier burgator, from Medieval Latin burgator "burglar," from burgare "to break open, commit burglary," from Latin burgus "fortress, castle," a Germanic loan-word akin to borough. The intrusive -l- is perhaps from influence of Latin latro "thief" (see larceny). The native word, Old English burgh-breche, might have influenced the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for burglar



A person who cheats or victimizes others: Don't shop there, he's a burglar (1920s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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