bur·​glar·​ize | \ ˈbər-glə-ˌrīz How to pronounce burglarize (audio) also ˈbər-gə-lə- \
burglarized; burglarizing

Definition of burglarize

transitive verb

1 : to break into and steal from burglarize a house
2 : to commit burglary against

intransitive verb

: to commit burglary

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Synonyms for burglarize


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Frequently Asked Questions About burglarize

Is there a difference between burglarize and rob?

To burglarize is "to break into and enter of a building with the intent to commit a crime, often theft," whereas rob means " to take personal property from by violence or threat." Burglary need not entail violence or threat, and robbery need not entail breaking into a dwelling.

Is the verb form of burglary, burgle or burglarize?

The verb form of burglary can be either burglarize or burgle. "Burglarize," like many verb forms, is made by adding the suffix -ize, and this form is more common in American English. Burgle is a back-formation (a word formed by subtraction of a real or supposed affix from an already existing longer word), and is more common in British English. Both are widely accepted as correct.

Is burglarized a real word?

Yes, it is, and so is burgle. While both variants of the verb, burgle and burglarize, have been disparaged since they entered the language in the middle of the 19th century, both are real words, and both have come to be widely accepted.

Examples of burglarize in a Sentence

the Watergate scandal began when Republican operatives burglarized the Democratic Party's headquarters in Washington, D.C. before they were caught, the thieves had burglarized dozens of houses around the city
Recent Examples on the Web The main crime committed against Ellsberg, overseen by ex-FBI and CIA agents G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, was to burglarize his psychiatrist’s office to search for damning information. Christian Appy, The Conversation, "How Richard Nixon’s obsession with Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers sowed the seeds for the president’s downfall," 23 Apr. 2021 Investigators said the suspects saw Davey Blackburn, the woman's husband, leave his house and seized the opportunity to also burglarize the Blackburn home. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, "Amanda Blackburn shooting: Man sentenced to 29 years in connection to 2015 killing," 22 Apr. 2021 An attempt was made to burglarize a home on the 400 block of South Cumberland Avenue between April 3 and April 5, police said. Pioneer Press Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Park Ridge police: Woman charged after running van is reported stolen from gas station," 13 Apr. 2021 Vincent died attempting to burglarize his ex-wife’s apartment, according to police. Tandra Smith | Tsmith@al.com, al, "Armed man shot, killed while breaking into ex-wife’s Daphne apartment, police say," 4 Mar. 2021 An attempt was also made to burglarize a vacant, former shoe repair business at 1203 S. Prospect Ave. Jennifer Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Burglars target Park Ridge sandwich shop, dental office in South Park commercial area," 17 Nov. 2020 Nevertheless, someone was trying to burglarize it, a caller told 911 well after midnight on a Sunday in Montgomery, Alabama. al, "When police violence is a dog bite," 2 Oct. 2020 Nevertheless, someone was trying to burglarize it, a caller told 911 well after midnight on a Sunday in Montgomery, Alabama. USA Today, "‘Felt like I was being eaten’," 2 Oct. 2020 Deputies went to the Timberlane subdivision near Covington shortly before 2 a.m. after a resident saw two people trying to burglarize his vehicle, according to the Sheriff's Office. Sara Pagones | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Two teens flee St. Tammany deputies at more than 100 mph and hit patrol units, officials say," 30 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'burglarize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of burglarize

1840, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for burglarize

Time Traveler

The first known use of burglarize was in 1840

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Statistics for burglarize

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Burglarize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/burglarize. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for burglarize



English Language Learners Definition of burglarize

US : to illegally enter (a building) and steal things


transitive verb
bur·​glar·​ize | \ ˈbər-glə-ˌrīz How to pronounce burglarize (audio) \
burglarized; burglarizing

Legal Definition of burglarize

: to commit a burglary at burglarized the apartment

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