9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pil-fer] /ˈpɪl fər/
verb (used without object), verb (used with object)
to steal, especially in small quantities.
Origin of pilfer
late Middle English
1540-50; v. use of late Middle English pilfre booty < Middle French pelfre. See pelf
Related forms
pilferer, noun
unpilfered, adjective
thieve, purloin, filch, appropriate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pilfered
  • Game ranchers set out feed to attract deer, but wild hogs pilfered it, growing more fecund.
  • Some drink the local special, jet-five, so called because the fermentation of maize and sorghum is sped up with pilfered jet fuel.
  • Former ministers and a prime minister agreed to hand back money pilfered in office.
  • Any information that helps find pilfered goods may also be used to track camera owners' activities.
  • After, of course, they've pilfered trillions from our pockets.
  • All these politicians are seeking higher taxes because their treasuries have been pilfered due to corruption.
  • No need to worry, though, about wheels getting pilfered.
  • She hits a couple of high points that get you, such as a blast at her husband over some pilfered rice.
  • Local artifact hunters have periodically pilfered the site.
  • pilfered products may not be kept under ideal or required storage conditions which can threaten the product's integrity.
British Dictionary definitions for pilfered


to steal (minor items), esp in small quantities
Derived Forms
pilferer, noun
pilfering, noun
Word Origin
C14 pylfre (n) from Old French pelfre booty; see pelf
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 pilfered



1540s, from pilfer (n.) "spoils, booty," c.1400, from Old French pelfre "booty, spoils" (11c.), of unknown origin, possibly related to pelf. Related: Pilfered; pilfering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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