Synonym Chooser

How does the verb purloin differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of purloin are filch, pilfer, and steal. While all these words mean "to take from another without right or without detection," purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes.

printed a purloined document

When could filch be used to replace purloin?

The synonyms filch and purloin are sometimes interchangeable, but filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously.

filched an apple from the tray

When would pilfer be a good substitute for purloin?

The meanings of pilfer and purloin largely overlap; however, pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts.

pilfered from his employer

When can steal be used instead of purloin?

The words steal and purloin can be used in similar contexts, but steal may apply to any surreptitious taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to intangibles as well as material things.

steal jewels
stole a look at the gifts


Thesaurus Entries Near purloin

Cite this Entry

“Purloin.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on purloin

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