Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To steal (a small amount or item). See Synonyms at steal.
  • intransitive v. To steal or filch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To steal in small quantities, or articles of small value; to practise petty theft.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To steal in small quantities, or articles of small value; to practice petty theft.
  • transitive v. To take by petty theft; to filch; to steal little by little.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To steal in small quantities; practise petty theft.
  • To steal or gain by petty theft; filch.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make off with belongings of others

Etymologies

From Middle English pilfre, spoils, from Old French pelfre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English pilfre ("booty"), from Old French pelfre ("plunder, booty, spoils"), of unknown origin. Possibly related to pelf. (Wiktionary)

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