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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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for underthieves

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
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Word Origin and History for underthieves

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
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