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[per-loin, pur-loin] /pərˈlɔɪn, ˈpɜr lɔɪn/
verb (used with object)
to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.
verb (used without object)
to commit theft; steal.
Origin of purloin
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English purloynen < Anglo-French purloigner to put off, remove, equivalent to pur- (< Latin prō- pro-1) + -loigner, derivative of loin at a distance, far off < Latin longē
Related forms
purloiner, noun
unpurloined, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for purloiner
Historical Examples
  • The purloiner of a clerk's property was ordered to restore threefold .

    The Parish Clerk (1907) Peter Hampson Ditchfield
  • At night the purloiner marched to his plunder, and she revived.

  • One glance at her sweet, highbred features was sufficient to exonerate her as a purloiner of gentlemen's garments.

    Quick Action Robert W. Chambers
  • I have strong doubts of his being the purloiner of the sword.

  • Was not the purloiner of my treasure and the wanderer the same person?

    Edgar Huntley Charles Brockden Brown
  • The purloiner nodded, and his lips twisted into a smile of triumph, as he thrust the sheet of paper into his own pocket.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • But in spite of threats the bat was not brought back nor its purloiner or annexer betrayed.

    Glyn Severn's Schooldays George Manville Fenn
  • You are a corrupter of youth, and an evil man, Mr. Schoolmaster, and a purloiner of letters as well.'

    A German Pompadour Marie Hay
  • The purloiner of love had introduced herself under cover of the pity in which Maud had believed.

    Cosmopolis, Complete Paul Bourget
British Dictionary definitions for purloiner


to take (something) dishonestly; steal
Derived Forms
purloiner, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Old French porloigner to put at a distance, from por- for +loin distant, from Latin longus long
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 purloiner



mid-14c., "remove, misappropriate," from Anglo-French purloigner "remove," Old French porloigner "put off, retard, delay, drag out; be far away," from por- (from Latin pro- "forth;" see pro-) + Old French loing "far," from Latin longe, from longus (see long (adj.)). Sense of "to steal" (1540s) is a development in English. Related: Purloined; purloining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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