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Synonym Chooser

How does the verb steal differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of steal are filch, pilfer, and purloin. While all these words mean "to take from another without right or without detection," 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

In what contexts can filch take the place of steal?

The meanings of filch and steal largely overlap; however, filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously.

filched an apple from the tray

When might pilfer be a better fit than steal?

While the synonyms pilfer and steal are close in meaning, pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts.

pilfered from his employer

When could purloin be used to replace steal?

The synonyms purloin and steal are sometimes interchangeable, but purloin stresses removing or carrying off for one's own use or purposes.

printed a purloined document

Thesaurus Entries Near steal

Cite this Entry

“Steal.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on steal

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