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

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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 Once some viruses had evolved ways of writing and copying DNA, their hosts would have been able to purloin them in order to make back-up copies of their RNA molecules. The Economist, "The viral universe Viruses have big impacts on ecology and evolution as well as human health," 20 Aug. 2020 Federal prosecutors now say China used the program to purloin sensitive technology. Penn Bullock, New York Times, "Wuhan, Trump, Oscars: Your Friday Briefing," 6 Feb. 2020 Police say further investigation revealed the individuals had purloined the paper products — which are a scarce commodity amid the coronavirus pandemic — and the linens from a maid’s cart at a nearby hotel. Los Angeles Times, "Toilet paper thieves try to make clean getaway but can’t roll away from police," 16 Apr. 2020 Notwithstanding the belief of over 60 percent of Democrats, precipitated by breathless and often misleading media coverage, not one vote was altered by Putin, nor was a single person’s free will purloined by a Russian Twitter bot or Facebook ad. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Nancy Pelosi Is Already Attacking the Legitimacy of the 2020 Election," 20 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. 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

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 entry 1, long

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Time Traveler for purloin

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Purloin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purloin. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on purloin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for purloin

Nglish: Translation of purloin for Spanish Speakers

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