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thief

[theef] /θif/
noun, plural thieves.
1.
a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force; one guilty of theft or larceny.
Origin
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.

thieve

[theev] /θiv/
verb (used with object), thieved, thieving.
1.
to take by theft; steal.
verb (used without object), thieved, thieving.
2.
to act as a thief; commit theft; steal.
Origin
before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)
Related forms
thievingly, adverb
outthieve, verb (used with object), outthieved, outthieving.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for thieves
  • There is no doubt that visitors, particularly from developed countries, are attractive targets to thieves.
  • Even thieves, participants recall with nostalgia, called a moratorium on stealing.
  • In each case, when the thieves were caught their families were shamed and the community took the occasion as a teaching moment.
  • Many gardeners in the honesty box business have even abandoned the trade because of thieves.
  • It was infested with robbers, renegades, thieves and highwaymen.
  • These grumbling thieves demand gas, insurance, parking and repairs.
  • Think of thieves moving through densely packed homes and quickly able to establish new targets outside the heavily policed area.
  • Many are still unfairly stigmatized as thieves and low-lives.
  • When thieves start to feel guilty or feel they might get arrested they tend to destroy the evidence.
  • But the thieves always have a head start--which means that for a while, they'll usually get away with it.
British Dictionary definitions for thieves

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

thieve

/θiːv/
verb
1.
to steal (someone's possessions)
Derived Forms
thievery, noun
Word Origin
Old English thēofian, from thēofthief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for thieves

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").

thieve

v.

Old English þeofian, from þeof (see thief). Rare in Old English, not common until 17c. Thieving first attested 1520s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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13
13
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