from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who commits the act or crime of theft.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The bramble Rubus fruticosus. Compare theve-thorn.
  • noun A person who steals, or is guilty of larceny or robbery; one who takes the goods or property of another without the owner's knowledge or consent; especially, one who deprives another of property secretly or without open force, as opposed to a robber, who openly uses violence.
  • noun A person guilty of cunning or deceitful acts; a lawless person; an evil-doer: used in reproach.
  • noun An imperfection in the wick of a candle, causing it to gutter.
  • noun A tin can to which a small line or becket is attached, used as a drinking-cup by sailors. It is made heavier on one side, so that it will capsize when it is dropped in the water.
  • noun A thief-tube.
  • noun Same as hermit-crab.
  • noun Synonyms Pilferer, Pirate (see robber), pickpocket, cutpurse. See pillage, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun One who steals; one who commits theft or larceny. See theft.
  • noun A waster in the snuff of a candle.
  • noun Same as Thief taker.
  • noun one who leads or takes away a thief.
  • noun one whose business is to find and capture thieves and bring them to justice.
  • noun a tube for withdrawing a sample of a liquid from a cask.
  • noun [Eng.] a kind of aromatic vinegar for the sick room, taking its name from the story that thieves, by using it, were enabled to plunder, with impunity to health, in the great plague at London.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One who has carried out a theft.
  • noun obsolete A waster in the snuff of a candle.

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

  • noun a criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it


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

[Middle English, from Old English thēof.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English þēof, from Proto-Germanic *þeubaz.


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  • I say that no one in this caravan is awake

    and that while you sleep, a thief is stealing

    the signs and symbols of what you thought

    was your life. Now you're angry with me for

    telling you this! Pay attention to those who

    hurt your feelings telling you the truth.

    - Rumi, 'Ghazal 1134', version by Coleman Barks with Nevit Ergin in 'The Glance'.

    October 17, 2008