pur·​loin | \(ˌ)pər-ˈlȯin, ˈpər-ˌlȯin\
purloined; purloining; purloins

Definition of purloin 

transitive verb

: to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust

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Other Words from purloin

purloiner noun

Synonyms for purloin


appropriate, boost [slang], filch, heist, hook, lift, misappropriate, nick [British slang], nip, pilfer, pinch, pocket, rip off, snitch, steal, swipe, thieve

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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

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 The petition to the high court comes from a San Antonio man whom the RIAA accused of using the Kazaa file-sharing program to purloin its members’ music in 2006. David Kravets, WIRED, "Supreme Court Asked to Weigh RIAA Legal Fee Flap," 24 Mar. 2008

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.

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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, long

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Dictionary Entries near purloin





purl stitch



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Time Traveler for purloin

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

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English Language Learners Definition of purloin

: to take (something that belongs to someone else)


transitive verb
pur·​loin | \pər-ˈlȯin, ˈpər-ˌlȯin \

Legal Definition of purloin 

: steal

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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).


by force of circumstances

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