\ 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 Then worth an estimated $50, he was smuggled out of Alaska to Oregon, where law enforcement tracked down the thief. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "How well do you know Anchorage? Take this quiz and find out," 23 Nov. 2020 The hardware kit necessary to pull off the heist cost Wouters around $300, fits inside a backpack, and is controlled from the thief's phone. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "This Bluetooth Attack Can Steal a Tesla Model X in Minutes," 23 Nov. 2020 When Taylor Lorenz told Jalaiah’s story in the Times, Charli’s comments were flooded with people accusing her of being a thief. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "98 Million TikTok Followers Can’t Be Wrong," 20 Nov. 2020 The man could be legitimate, a thief, or a criminal on the run. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Hobo Hieroglyphs: Their Secret Symbols, Explained," 17 Nov. 2020 Despite cameras and an alarm system, the thief managed to get away in about 20 seconds. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Gone in 20 seconds: Burglar make off with $50,000 in rings from a Plano jeweler," 17 Nov. 2020 Though 2020, thief of joy, has taken most award shows from us, Joey has still found a way to serve us multiple killer looks this year, at the PCAs and the VMAs. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Joey King Wore the Absolute Coolest Jumpsuit to the 2020 People's Choice Awards," 16 Nov. 2020 Morning crept up on him like a thief with golden fingers. Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, Wired, "The Future of Work: ‘Work Ethics,’ by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne," 13 Nov. 2020 Police said the thief then dropped the lawn mower and fled. Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, Star Tribune, "News of the weird:," 13 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for thief

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for thief

Last Updated

2 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for thief


How to pronounce thief (audio)

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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Comments on thief

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