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[rob-er] /ˈrɒb ər/
a person who robs.
1125-75; Middle English robbere < Old French robere. See rob, -er1
Can be confused
burglar, mugger, robber, thief (see synonym study at thief)
highwayman, bandit, brigand; burglar. See thief. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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  • It is also different from the activities of bandits, pirates or robbers.
Word Origin and History for robbers



late 12c., from Anglo-French robbere, Old French robeor, agent noun from rober (see rob). Robber baron in the "corrupt, greedy financier" sense is attested from 1870s, from a comparison of Gilded Age capitalists to medieval European warlords.

It is the attempt of the more shrewd to take advantage of the less shrewd. It is the attempt of the strong to oppress the weak. It is the old robber baron in his castle descending, after men have planted their crops, and stealing them. [Henry Ward Beecher, sermon, "Truthfulness," 1871]

Regulation by combination means that the railroad managers are feudal lords and that you are their serfs. It means that every car load of grain or other produce of your fields and shops that passes over the New York Central shall pay heavy toll for right of transit to Vanderbilt, the robber baron of our modern feudalism, who dominates that way. [W.C. Flagg, testimony to Congress, 1874]

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


Related Terms

belly-robber, cradle-robber

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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