Examples of pilfer in a Sentence
She pilfered stamps and paper from work.
what sort of person would pilfer lunches from the office refrigerator?
Recent Examples of pilfer from the Web
Her simple, structured bags, which seemed pilfered from Katharine Hepburn’s closet, quickly became favorites among fashion editors.
There’s even a gray couch, pilfered from an Airbnb, where Arie dumped Becca in January.
Additionally, private cybersecurity companies have said hacking groups with ties to North Korea have ramped up efforts to pilfer military, technological, political, economic and strategic secrets from companies around the world.
According to a cyber-security expert Rogen hired, there’s also no way the hack could have been done remotely, given the amount of stuff that was pilfered.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has extended a $10 million reward for information leading to the return of 13 works valued at half a billion dollars that were pilfered in 1990.
Lately, the robbers in Fresno had been targeting street-lights in the nice neighborhoods, pilfering yards and yards of copper wire and selling them to recycling plants.
Hanging from trees rather than doorways, the mistletoe can make ATP by breaking down sugar pilfered from their hosts.
The moniker came from low-level government employees who found out the hard way that at any hour, Díaz-Canel could show up unannounced to inspect whether workers were actually on the job and not pilfering supplies or taking a nap.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pilfer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
The Various Uses of pilfer
Pilfer is a synonym of steal, but it typically implies a particular kind of stealing. What is pilfered is usually stolen stealthily—furtively, so that no one will notice—in small amounts and often again and again. One might, for example, pilfer cookies from a cookie jar until a plentiful supply has dwindled to nothing. The word is sometimes used for that kind of stealing: the stealthy and gradual stealing of something that isn't worth much anyway:
Money was tight enough that Dickey's family used silverware pilfered from the local Western Sizzlin….
— L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated 2 Apr. 2012
But it is also used when the stolen things are valuable indeed, and the act of pilfering a serious criminal act:
For generations, scavengers have prowled this city with impunity, pouncing on abandoned properties and light poles to pilfer steel, copper and other metals they could trade for cash at scrapyards. The practice left tens of thousands of buildings so damaged that they could not be restored, turning places like the North End into grim cityscapes that appeared to have been ravaged by a tornado.
— John Eligon, The New York Times, 15 Mar. 2015
Pilfer may remind one of a similar also-serious word: pillage. The two words share more than a first syllable; pilfer comes from an old word meaning "booty" (as in, things that are stolen or taken by force, especially during a war) and pillage means "to take things from a place by force especially during a war." But despite their similarities, the words in modern use are very different. Pilfer has long since shed the connotations of violence in its etymological past; what's pilfered is not taken violently. Pillage, on the other hand, remains firmly rooted in violence and especially war; it is not a term you apply when someone's been sneaking cookies from a cookie jar.
make away with, make off with, run off with, walk off with;
Synonym Discussion of pilfer
- steal jewels
- stole a look at the gifts
- pilfered from his employer
- filched an apple from the tray
- printed a purloined document
PILFER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pilfer for English Language Learners
: to steal things that are not very valuable or to steal a small amount of something
PILFER Defined for Kids
legal Definition of pilfer
- accused of pilfering from passenger luggage
- found pilfering goods from a store he was guarding
pilferageplay \ˈpil-fə-rij\ noun
Seen and Heard
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