\ 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 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 The thief or thieves also cut a 12-foot section from the top of another nearby tree, a compact white fir planted in 1981, according to police. James Leggate, Fox News, "Wisconsin police seek 'conifer crook' who stole rare tree," 13 Nov. 2020 The thief took the victim’s black Ford Fusion shortly before 9 p.m. on Lake Ashmere Drive, in a residential area east of Lake Murray Boulevard, police said. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Marijuana dispensary delivery driver carjacked in Lake Murray area," 25 Oct. 2020 The thief also took her wallet, which was in the glove box. John Benson, cleveland, "Thief steals laptop and wallet from unlocked employee vehicle: Brecksville Police Blotter," 14 Oct. 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

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 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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