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[theev] /θiv/
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.
Origin of thieve
before 950; Old English thēofian, derivative of theōf thief (not recorded in ME)
Related forms
thievingly, adverb
outthieve, verb (used with object), outthieved, outthieving. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for thieving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the evening near the village a pair of western robins and a thieving magpie had a hard tussle along the fence of the road.

    Birds of the Rockies Leander Sylvester Keyser
  • I do not deny that Sir Thomas Picton has described him as a "thieving blackguard."

    The Snare Rafael Sabatini
  • Its history is of old date, for here Milesius buried the beloved son, Ir, that the thieving waters robbed of his soul.

    The Sunny Side of Ireland John O'Mahony and R. Lloyd Praeger
  • There was a run against me last night in that thieving place.

    The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Charles James Lever
  • My investigations into this thieving case have shown me that she is perfectly innocent.

    A Coin of Edward VII Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for thieving


given to stealing other people's possessions


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for thieving



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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Slang definitions & phrases for thieving



  1. (also thickheaded) Stupid; dull-witted (1597+, variant 1801+)
  2. (also thick as thieves) Intimate; very well acquainted: The two of them are very thick (1756+, variant 1833+)
  3. Shapely; curvaceous (1980s+ Teenagers)

Related Terms

spread it thick

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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