Word of the Day : April 17, 2021

purloin

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verb per-LOYN

Definition

: to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust

Did You Know?

The word purloin features in the title of a famous Edgar Allan Poe story in its past tense form: "The Purloined Letter" was included in Poe's 1845 Tales, and involves the search for a letter that a cabinet minister has stolen and is now using to blackmail the rightful owner, an unnamed woman of royalty. When Poe opted for ­purloin for his story, he was employing a term in use since the 15th century with the meaning "to put away; to inappropriately take or make use of." The word had earlier use, now obsolete, with the meaning "to set aside; to render inoperative or ineffectual," a meaning that links more clearly to the word's Anglo-French origin: purluigner means "to prolong, postpone, set aside," and comes from pur-, meaning "forward," and luin, loing, meaning "at a distance." Its ultimate root is Latin longus, long, meaning "long."


Examples

"A comfortable career of prosperity, if it does not make people honest, at least keeps them so. An alderman coming from a turtle feast will not step out of his carriage to steal a leg of mutton; but put him to starve, and see if he will not purloin a loaf." — William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848

"White Fox, played with brisk, exemplary swagger by Hsu Feng, is a master thief employed by a corrupt landowner who wants to purloin a priceless sutra from a Buddhist monastery." — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times, 29 Oct. 2020



Name That Synonym

Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of purloin: TTAARCSB.

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