rob peter to pay paul

rob

[rob]
verb (used with object), robbed, robbing.
1.
to take something from (someone) by unlawful force or threat of violence; steal from.
2.
to deprive (someone) of some right or something legally due: They robbed her of her inheritance.
3.
to plunder or rifle (a house, shop, etc.).
4.
to deprive of something unjustly or injuriously: The team was robbed of a home run hitter when the umpire called it a foul ball. The shock robbed him of his speech.
5.
Mining. to remove ore or coal from (a pillar).
verb (used without object), robbed, robbing.
6.
to commit or practice robbery.
Idioms
7.
rob Peter to pay Paul, to take something from one person or thing to pay one's debt or hypothetical debt to another, as to sacrifice one's health by overworking.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English robben < Old French robber < Germanic; compare Old High German roubōn. See reave1

unrobbed, adjective

burglarize, mug, rip off, rob, steal (see synonym study at the current entry).


1. Rob, rifle, sack refer to seizing possessions that belong to others. Rob is the general word for taking possessions by unlawful force or violence: to rob a bank, a house, a train. A term with a more restricted meaning is rifle to make a thorough search for what is valuable or worthwhile, usually within a small space: to rifle a safe. On the other hand, sack is a term for robbery on a huge scale during war; it suggests destruction accompanying pillage, and often includes the indiscriminate massacre of civilians: to sack a town or district. 2. defraud, cheat.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
rob (rɒb)
 
vb , robs, robbing, robbed
1.  (tr) to take something from (someone) illegally, as by force or threat of violence
2.  to plunder (a house, shop, etc)
3.  (tr) to deprive unjustly: to be robbed of an opportunity
 
[C13: from Old French rober, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German roubōn to rob]
 
'robber
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

rob
c.1175 (implied in robber), from O.Fr. rober, from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. roubon "to rob," roub "spoil, plunder;" O.E. reafian, source of the reave in bereave), from P.Gmc. *raubojanan, from *raub- "to break."
"Lord, hou schulde God approve þat þou robbe Petur, and gif þis robbere to Poule in þe name of Crist?" [Wyclif, c.1380]
To rob the cradle is attested from 1940s. Robber baron in the "corrupt, greedy financier" sense is attested from 1878.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

rob Peter to pay Paul definition


To harm one person in order to do good to another; by extension, to use money or resources set aside for one purpose for a different one.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

rob Peter to pay Paul

Take from one to give to another, shift resources. For example, They took out a second mortgage on their house so they could buy a condo in Floridathey're robbing Peter to pay Paul. Although legend has it that this expression alludes to appropriating the estates of St. Peter's Church, in Westminster, London, to pay for the repairs of St. Paul's Cathedral in the 1800s, the saying first appeared in a work by John Wycliffe about 1382.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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