plural thieves ˈthēvz How to pronounce thief (audio)
: one that steals especially stealthily or secretly
also : one who commits theft or larceny

Examples of thief in a Sentence

A thief took my purse. a thief has been stealing wallets and valuables from the lockers at the gym
Recent Examples on the Web In one of the incidents, last summer, thieves threw a brick through the front door and made a run for the register. David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 10 June 2024 The nonprofit explains that most often thieves watch for vehicles to be left unattended with the keys inside or left running. Jordan Greene, Peoplemag, 6 June 2024 And although the thieves may be lured by the payday, Kodur said, the fact is that brass, copper and steel don’t fetch very much money. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2024 After pulling off a massive heist, rarely does the thief go back to the scene of the crime for a second loot. Irene Wright, Miami Herald, 5 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for thief 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thief.' 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 theef, from Old English thēof; akin to Old High German diob thief

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of thief was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near thief

Cite this Entry

“Thief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


plural thieves ˈthēvz How to pronounce thief (audio)
: one that steals

Legal Definition


plural thieves
: one who commits theft

Old English thēof

More from Merriam-Webster on thief

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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