noun, plural thieves.
a person who steals, especially secretly or without open force; one guilty of theft or larceny.

before 900; Middle English; Old English thēof; cognate with Dutch dief, German Dieb, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs

underthief, noun, plural underthieves.

burglar, mugger, robber, thief (see synonym study at the current entry).

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. Unabridged


verb (used with object), thieved, thieving.
to take by theft; steal.
verb (used without object), thieved, thieving.
to act as a thief; commit theft; steal.

before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)

thievingly, adverb
outthieve, verb (used with object), outthieved, outthieving. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
thief (θiːf)
n , pl thieves
1.  a person who steals something from another
2.  criminal law a person who commits theft
[Old English thēof; related to Old Frisian thiāf, Old Saxon thiof, Old High German diob, Old Norse thjōfr, Gothic thiufs]

thieve (θiːv)
to steal (someone's possessions)
[Old English thēofian, from thēofthief]

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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Word Origin & History

O.E. þeof, from P.Gmc. *theubaz (cf. O.Fris. thiaf, O.S. thiof, M.Du. dief, O.H.G. diob, Ger. dieb, O.N. þiofr, Goth. þiufs), probably from PIE *teup- (cf. Lith. tupeti "to crouch down").

O.E. þeofian, from þeof (see thief). Rare in O.E., not common until 17c. Thievish "of or pertaining to thieves" is recorded from mid-15c.; meaning "inclined to steal" is from 1530s. Thieving first attested 1520s. Thievery is from 1560s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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
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.
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