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 The Wichita Eagle reported that the thieves planned to scrap the metal from the statue for money, according to court records. Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star, 11 Apr. 2024 As a skilled thief, Kay’s antics catch the attention of Sliro, the leader of a new, foreboding criminal syndicate Zerek Besh. Todd Spangler, Variety, 9 Apr. 2024 The thief is seen in the security video rummaging through her purse and running away. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 9 Apr. 2024 At the Berra museum, the thieves cut the glass to gain entry, and were able to elude security cameras during one of the larger hauls, according to museum staff. Christopher Kuo, New York Times, 7 Apr. 2024 The thief dropped the hammer and fled, police said. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Apr. 2024 Homeowners fought back and chased would-be thieves across San Francisco Bay. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 2 Apr. 2024 The leader of the British crew had reacted to this petty crime by shooting not only the thief but also a second Māori man. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 It can be worn crossbody with an adjustable shoulder strap (for harder access for pickpockets and thieves) and also has an interior organizer with RFID-blocking material to protect your passports and credit cards. Samantha Leal, Travel + Leisure, 31 Mar. 2024

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 18 Apr. 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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