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

Examples of rob in a Sentence

Someone tried to rob me. The cashier was robbed at gunpoint.
Recent Examples on the Web According to an initial investigation, Washington, Jackson and Moore were attempting to rob Graham at gunpoint, police said. Jasmine Hilton, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2023 The chain stores featured in the HGTV pilot have closed for the time being, robbing Fernando of the coffee shop job Whitney promised him. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 24 Nov. 2023 Many Palestinians, living under occupation or as refugees around the world, still saw the founding of Israel as an act of dispossession that had robbed them of their land and homes. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Investigators believe Navarro and Pena met online, according to the Garland Police Department, and the 17-year-old suspect allegedly intended to rob him with a male accomplice, 21-year-old Yordy Martinez. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 19 Nov. 2023 Ortega returned hours later to settle the score by robbing his assailant, only to be quickly arrested. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2023 In Gaza— where families are accustomed to loss and laying the dead to rest is a communal occasion — the war has robbed the dead of traditional funeral rites. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 15 Nov. 2023 In June, an appellate court ordered the N.Y.P.D. to turn over detailed information about a facial-recognition search that had led a Queens resident named Francisco Arteaga to be charged with robbing a store. Eyal Press, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 New bodycam video reveals the moment a police officer shot and killed a man who tried to rob an armored car employee in Tennessee and then charged at the officer with two knives, authorities said. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 23 Nov. 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 10 Dec. 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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