[klep-tuh-mey-nee-uh, -meyn-yuh]
noun Psychology.
an irresistible impulse to steal, stemming from emotional disturbance rather than economic need.

1820–30; klepto- (combining form of Greek kléptēs thief) + -mania

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World English Dictionary
kleptomania (ˌklɛptəʊˈmeɪnɪə)
psychol a strong impulse to steal, esp when there is no obvious motivation
[C19: klepto- from Greek kleptēs thief, from kleptein to steal + -mania]

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Word Origin & History

1830, formed from Gk. kleptes "thief" (from kleptein "to steal, act secretly" from PIE base *klep- "to steal," extention of base *kel- "to cover, conceal;" cf. L. clepere "to steal, listen secretly to," O.Pruss. au-klipts "hidden," O.C.S. poklopu "cover, wrapping," Goth. hlifan "to steal," hliftus "thief")
+ mania "madness." Shortened form klepto for kleptomaniac is attested from 1958. Kleptocracy "rule by a class of thieves" is first attested 1819, in ref. to Spain.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

kleptomania klep·to·ma·ni·a (klěp'tə-mā'nē-ə, -mān'yə)
An obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need, usually arising from an unconscious symbolic value associated with the stolen item.

klep'to·ma'ni·ac' (-nē-āk') adj.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
kleptomania [(klep-tuh-may-nee-uh)]

A compulsion to steal, usually without either economic need or personal desire.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


recurrent compulsion to steal without regard to the value or use of the objects stolen. Although widely known and sometimes used as an attempted legal defense by arrested thieves, genuine kleptomania is a fairly rare mental disorder. A kleptomaniac may hide, give away, or secretly return the stolen items, but he seldom uses them or attempts to profit by their resale. The kleptomaniac usually has the economic means to purchase what he steals and obtains gratification from the theft itself rather than from its object.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
CP has a record of kleptomania, but he does not have a rec ord of a disability.
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