\ ˈthēf How to pronounce thief (audio) \
plural thieves\ ˈthēvz How to pronounce thief (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 thief took about $250,000 worth of diamond rings from the store. William Thornton |, al, 12 Oct. 2021 Seven shots can be heard on the video, followed by a male voice repeatedly ordering the thief to leave. oregonlive, 9 Oct. 2021 In that case, the thief also removed the child, dropping the toddler off at a pizza shop, police said at the time. Christine Dempsey,, 4 Oct. 2021 The thief or thieves broke in, and made off with one item of value: my mountain bike. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2021 Prosecutors said a trampled zucchini plant had helped investigators work out where the thief had climbed over the wall into the garden. New York Times, 22 Sep. 2021 Several homes in Morristown, New Jersey, have recently fallen victim to a leaf thief, with residents reporting scads of plants being stolen straight from their yards. Kristin Tablang, House Beautiful, 17 Aug. 2021 What was less foreseeable is that over the course of a four-day fling with Paula, Kai would go from a really nice dude with a steady job to a jewel thief on the run. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 8 Aug. 2021 Officer Nolan and Officer Chen have a run-in with an infamous thief, tipping them off to a bigger heist; Nolan asks Bailey out on a date. Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near thief



thief ant

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Statistics for thief

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Thief.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for thief



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

More from Merriam-Webster on thief

Nglish: Translation of thief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of thief for Arabic Speakers


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