robbed; robbing

transitive verb

: to take something away from by force : steal from
: to take personal property from by violence or threat
: to remove valuables without right from (a place)
: to take the contents of (a receptacle)
: to take away as loot : steal
rob jewelry
: to deprive of something due, expected, or desired
: to withhold unjustly or injuriously

intransitive verb

: to commit robbery
robber noun
Can rob mean 'to steal'?: Usage Guide

Transitive sense 1c, in which the direct object is the thing stolen, is sometimes considered to be wrong, or perhaps archaic. The sense has been in use since the 13th century and is found in earlier literature.

contrive to rob the honey and subvert the hive John Dryden

It is still in use though not as common as other senses.

then robbed $100 after the clerk fled Springfield (Massachusetts) Morning Union

Example Sentences

Someone tried to rob me. The cashier was robbed at gunpoint.
Recent Examples on the Web On Thursday, federal officials announced two more people were charged on allegations of pulling a letter carrier off a home’s front steps while stealing an arrow key and using a knife to rob another carrier last year in Massachusetts. David Sharp,, 12 May 2023 By that point, the rematch could lack postseason implications, robbing it of its usual significance. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2023 But at least Patti wasn’t murdered, at least Barbara hadn’t been robbed. Jazmine Hughes, New York Times, 10 May 2023 But Chris Taylor made a leaping grab near the wall in left field to rob Willy Adames of likely extra bases and Rowdy Tellez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish the budding rally. Todd Rosiak, Journal Sentinel, 9 May 2023 Charlotte cared for George, whose illness robbed him of his memory, until her death in 1818. Radhika Menon, ELLE, 5 May 2023 Last week, the news station reported, a mail carrier was robbed at gunpoint near N. 88th Street and W. Chambers Street. Greg Wehner, Fox News, 4 May 2023 According to detectives, Hornsby, 43, tried to rob the victim and shot her. The Oregonian, oregonlive, 28 Apr. 2023 Since then, he’s been robbed in a couple of dunk contests after slams that would make Stephen A. Smith whisper. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 28 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rob.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English robben, from Anglo-French rober, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German roubōn to rob — more at reave

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

Time Traveler
The first known use of rob was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near rob

Cite this Entry

“Rob.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


robbed; robbing
: to take something away from a person or place in secrecy or by force, threat, or trickery
: to take away as loot : steal
: to keep from getting something due, expected, or desired
robber noun

More from Merriam-Webster on rob

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