\ ˈtheft How to pronounce theft (audio) \

Definition of theft

1a : the act of stealing specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property
2 : a stolen base in baseball
3 obsolete : something stolen

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Examples of theft in a Sentence

The theft of the jewelry and other valuables was immediately reported to the police. He was found guilty of theft.

Recent Examples on the Web

Headley faced two credit card theft charges and one count of trafficking in personal information, along with two other defendants who were not in court Wednesday. Mike Catalini, The Seattle Times, "Mom whose toddler was yanked by police resolves another case," 12 Dec. 2018 Any one of us could face theft charges if our bosses wanted to take an inventory. Fox News, "Gutfeld: The left is turning on the left," 15 Sep. 2018 Nash is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge and two theft charges in the Merrimack County Superior Court on Friday at 1 p.m., the release said. Emily Sweeney,, "N.H. man accused of stabbing his mother to death charged with second-degree murder," 22 June 2018 Police were trying to locate the man concerning possible theft charges. Bill Kurtz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cedarburg girl finds out the hard way you shouldn't lend your phone to a stranger," 11 June 2018 Two other grand-theft charges and sentencing enhancement allegations were dismissed as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, according to Orange County Superior Court records. Hannah Fry,, "Former Urban Decay executive sentenced to year in jail for embezzling nearly $600,000," 23 May 2018 Vasquez said she was placed on probation for the theft. Julie K. Brown, The Seattle Times, "Perversion of Justice: Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark," 4 Dec. 2018 Brower said many cross-border crimes, including auto theft and smuggling, are orchestrated by organized criminal syndicates. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Four challengers face incumbent judge in Superior Court office No. 37 primary race," 30 May 2018 Investigators eventually learned that White had been arrested as an employee of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office in New Orleans in February 1997 for theft, forgery and malfeasance in office. Kim Chatelain,, "Slidell woman who stole ID for 6-figure job gets 10 years in prison," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'theft.' 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 theft

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for theft

Middle English thiefthe, from Old English thīefth; akin to Old English thēof thief

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More Definitions for theft



English Language Learners Definition of theft

: the act or crime of stealing


\ ˈtheft How to pronounce theft (audio) \

Kids Definition of theft

: the act of stealing



Legal Definition of theft

: larceny broadly : a criminal taking of the property or services of another without consent

Note: Theft commonly encompasses by statute a variety of forms of stealing formerly treated as distinct crimes.

grand theft
: theft of property or services whose value exceeds a specified amount or of a specified kind of property (as an automobile)

Note: Grand theft is a felony.

identity theft
: the unauthorized use of another's means of identification (as name or social security number) for the purpose of commiting theft or another crime
petty theft
: theft of property or services whose value is below a specified amount

called also petit theft

Note: Petty theft is a misdemeanor but may be aggravated by prior convictions.

History and Etymology for theft

Old English thiefth

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More from Merriam-Webster on theft

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with theft

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for theft

Spanish Central: Translation of theft

Nglish: Translation of theft for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of theft for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about theft

Comments on theft

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