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 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 Enlisting one of the diner's regular customers, Benny (Azim Rizk), a mechanic who has the hots for her, as an accomplice, Priscilla manages to get away with purloining the loot. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Los Angeles Overnight': Film Review," 9 Mar. 2018 Moreover, Trump’s base clearly loved the idea of Russians purloining and publishing information that would damage Clinton. Colin Campbell, New Republic, "The Open Secret About Trump’s Collusion With Russia," 21 Dec. 2017 People used to laugh at my suggestion that computer viruses were being planted and user info was being purloined by the same companies who sell us security software. Jonathan Takiff, Philly.com, "Kaspersky's KGB links make it a bad choice for U.S. consumers," 18 Oct. 2017 By happenstance or not, in the days and weeks after the meeting with the Russian lawyer, emails purloined from Democratic computers were made public, which investigators tied to Russian hacking. Peter Baker, Alaska Dispatch News, "Conspiracy or coincidence? A Trump campaign timeline open to interpretation," 13 July 2017 In other works, Parker has purloined objects, squashed them, melted them down and recast them, scratched them, and fired bullets at them. Andrew Dickson, The New Yorker, "On the Campaign Trail with Cornelia Parker, the U.K.’s Official Election Artist," 7 June 2017 The attacks on Friday are likely to raise significant questions about whether the growing number of countries developing and stockpiling cyberweapons can avoid having those same tools purloined and turned against their own citizens. Nicole Perlroth And David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool," 12 May 2017

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

21 Sep 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).


something of little or no value

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • 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!