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klep·​to ˈklep-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce klepto (audio)
plural kleptos


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combining form

: stealing : theft

Examples of klepto in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
America doesn't need your klepto-crude. Peter Weber, The Week, 9 Mar. 2022 What could be worse than the klepto-managers of Wall Street? Scott Burns, Dallas News, 23 June 2020 The first trilogy borrowed greedily from Flash Gordon and Japanese samurai movies, and set a precedent for future klepto-cinema. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, 20 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'klepto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Combining form

borrowed from Late Greek, combining form from Greek kléptēs "thief," kléptein "to steal," from a base klep-, going back to an Indo-European verb *klep- "steal, conceal," whence also Gothic hlifan "to steal," Latin clepere, Tocharian B kälyp- "steal"

Note: If Tocharian B klep- "touch with the fingers, investigate," kälp- "get, obtain" pertain, the original meaning of the Indo-European etymon was broader.

First Known Use


1953, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of klepto was in 1953

Dictionary Entries Near klepto

Cite this Entry

“Klepto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/klepto. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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