\ ˈthēf How to pronounce thief (audio) \
plural thieves\ ˈthēvz How to pronounce thieves (audio) \

Definition of thief

: one that steals especially stealthily or secretly also : one who commits theft or larceny

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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

As in the second heist, the thief ran off with cash and cigarettes after holding the clerk at gunpoint, police said. Jeff Weiner,, "Family Dollar robbed at gunpoint twice in a month — possibly by same person, Orlando police say," 28 June 2019 Zwibel said the thief was described as black, in his 20s or 30s, and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, khaki slacks and a fishing-style hat. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man with gun robs Hillcrest bank, flees with cash," 28 June 2019 The most corrupt thieves among Alabama’s elite always hide their guilt and suspicion with the words of Jesus and donations to their church. John Archibald |,, "Convicted sheriff gets privileges his inmates didn’t," 23 June 2019 The thief had a penchant for slipping in and out of homes while residents slept, what police call a hot prowl. Tribune News Service,, "The Man in the Window: First the burglaries; then the dogs started dying (Part Two)," 22 June 2019 In November 2016, a clerk in Gibson’s Bakery, having seen a black Oberlin student shoplifting bottles of wine, pursued the thief. George Will, National Review, "Oberlin Has Graduated from Self-Caricature to Disgrace," 20 June 2019 Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone gave the series a positive review, praising Gugino’s charismatic lead performance as the titular master thief. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "The best summer TV is often overlooked, a little weird, and can be watched at your leisure," 14 June 2019 The video shows the two thieves getting out of a silver four-door Toyota sedan. Doug Phillips,, "Crooks swiped his wallet and then knocked him down with their car," 10 June 2019 Even if the thief carries it around closed and disconnected from the internet, your laptop will emit its rotating public key via Bluetooth. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "The Clever Cryptography Behind Apple's 'Find My' Feature," 5 June 2019

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thief

Middle English theef, from Old English thēof; akin to Old High German diob thief

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Statistics for thief

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thief

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

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More Definitions for thief



English Language Learners Definition of thief

: a person who steals something


\ ˈthēf How to pronounce thief (audio) \
plural thieves\ ˈthēvz \

Kids Definition of thief

: a person who steals : robber


plural thieves

Legal Definition of thief

: one who commits theft

History and Etymology for thief

Old English thēof

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More from Merriam-Webster on thief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with thief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for thief

Spanish Central: Translation of thief

Nglish: Translation of thief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thief for Arabic Speakers

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