pur·​loin | \ (ˌ)pər-ˈlȯin How to pronounce purloin (audio) , ˈpər-ˌlȯin\
purloined; purloining; purloins

Definition of purloin

transitive verb

: to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from purloin

purloiner noun

Choose the Right Synonym for purloin

steal, pilfer, filch, purloin mean to take from another without right or without detection. steal may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to intangibles as well as material things. steal jewels stole a look at the gifts pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts. pilfered from his employer filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously. filched an apple from the tray purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes. printed a purloined document

Examples of purloin in a Sentence

the studio stepped up security, fearing that someone might attempt to purloin a copy of the script for the show's season finale
Recent Examples on the Web Ronald Reagan insisted his glossy locks were naturally brown and claimed that reporters had purloined clippings from his barber's floor to prove him wrong. Author: Roxanne Roberts, Anchorage Daily News, "The senior citizens running for president and how they try to look younger," 10 Nov. 2019 Ronald Reagan insisted his glossy locks were naturally brown and claimed that reporters had purloined clippings from his barber’s floor to prove him wrong. Washington Post, "Can we talk about the senior citizens running for president and how they try to look younger?," 6 Nov. 2019 Even John Lahr, the New Yorker theater critic who co-wrote her triumphant one-woman show, ended up suing her for allegedly purloining profits by using bits from the show in her cabaret act. BostonGlobe.com, "Most read on BostonGlobe.com," 18 Oct. 2019 Centuries later, William Faulkner purloined a phrase from that speech for his novel The Sound and the Fury, which is indeed told by an idiot, Benjy Compson. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Steve Breen’s cartoon illustrates the Bard’s legacy," 12 Oct. 2019 The peasants who lived nearby, curious what valuable plants the king was guarding in his garden, swept in by dark after the guard’s departure and purloined the potato plants for their own plots. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: Colombian exchange offered us the potato," 9 Oct. 2019 Nearby is the kitchen that Pelosi and her fellow students used to sneak into at night to purloin ice cream. Jason Bell; Fashion Editor: Miguel Enamorado, Harper's BAZAAR, "Nancy Pelosi Is Praying for Trump," 23 Sep. 2019 For years visitors have purloined pieces of Uluru as souvenirs. National Geographic, "Why Australia is banning climbers from this iconic natural landmark," 15 Sep. 2019 More was purloined under the guise of building an international financial center in Kuala Lumpur in a joint venture with an IPIC subsidiary, the suits claim. Tom Wright, WSJ, "Fall of a Malaysian Dynasty Puts Target on Alleged 1MDB Mastermind," 20 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of purloin

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for purloin

Middle English, to put away, misappropriate, from Anglo-French purluigner to prolong, postpone, set aside, from pur- forward + luin, loing at a distance, from Latin longe, from longus long — more at purchase entry 1, long

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about purloin

Listen to Our Podcast about purloin

Statistics for purloin

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for purloin

The first known use of purloin was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for purloin


How to pronounce purloin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of purloin

formal + humorous : to take (something that belongs to someone else)
pur·​loin | \ pər-ˈlȯin, ˈpər-ˌlȯin How to pronounce purloin (audio) \

Legal Definition of purloin

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on purloin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for purloin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with purloin

Spanish Central: Translation of purloin

Nglish: Translation of purloin for Spanish Speakers

Comments on purloin

What made you want to look up purloin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speed up the process or progress of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!