follow Dictionary.com

Capitol vs. capital? What's the difference?

thief

[theef] /θif/
noun, plural thieves.
1.
a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force; one guilty of theft or larceny.
Origin of thief
900
before 900; Middle English; Old English thēof; cognate with Dutch dief, German Dieb, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs
Related forms
underthief, noun, plural underthieves.
Can be confused
burglar, mugger, robber, thief (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
burglar, pickpocket, highwayman. Thief, robber refer to one who steals. A thief takes the goods or property of another by stealth without the latter's knowledge: like a thief in the night. A robber trespasses upon the house, property, or person of another, and makes away with things of value, even at the cost of violence: A robber held up two women on the street.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for thief
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Then that is where the thief must have come in," remarked Roger.

    Dave Porter At Bear Camp Edward Stratemeyer
  • Their shame was hers: the son of her mother, the son of her father was a thief!

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • The thief had already thrown away another armload, at the same place in the fence, almost under the window.

    Strange Stories of the Great Valley Abbie Johnston Grosvenor
  • "The less reason, then, for her being a thief," Gilder grumbled in his heaviest voice.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • Whoever conceals a thief or stolen property or aids a thief in any way, shall be punished as a thief.

British Dictionary definitions for thief

thief

/θiːf/
noun (pl) thieves (θiːvz)
1.
a person who steals something from another
2.
(criminal law) a person who commits theft
Derived Forms
thievish, adjective
thievishly, adverb
thievishness, noun
Word Origin
Old English thēof; related to Old Frisian thiāf, Old Saxon thiof, Old High German diob, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for thief
n.

Old English þeof, from Proto-Germanic *theubaz (cf. Old Frisian thiaf, Old Saxon thiof, Middle Dutch dief, Old High German diob, German dieb, Old Norse þiofr, Gothic þiufs), probably from PIE *teup- (cf. Lithuanian tupeti "to crouch down").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for thief

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for thief

11
10
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for thief