Word of the Day Archive
Thursday August 18, 2011
To take dishonestly; steal.
Annatoo concluded that Samoa was not wholly to be enslaved; and Samoa thought best to wink at Annatoo's foibles, and let her purloin when she pleased.
-- Herman Melville, Mardi, and a Voyage Thither
To climb a wall, to break a branch, to purloin apples, is a mischievous trick in a child; for a man it is a misdemeanor; for a convict it is a crime.
-- Victor Hugo, Les misérables: Volume 1
Purloin has an ancestor in the Old French porloigner, "to put off, delay," but the sense of "to steal" is an English addition.