Definition of clifty in English:


verbcliftying, cliftied, clifties

[with object]Australian
dated, informal
  • Steal or take without permission.

    ‘he had a primus he'd cliftied from one of the officers’
    no object ‘Australians called the locals thieves but were guilty of cliftying themselves’
    • ‘Every one of these items had been cliftied, and appropriately, the marquee was also illegally acquired.’
    • ‘A bust of Mussolini was cliftied by their squadron.’
    • ‘They had an uncanny ability to slit a tent at night in just the right spot to clifty a rifle, ammunition, or other vital equipment.’
    • ‘One of the mess ornaments was 'Stinky Miller', a skeleton cliftied from a museum.’
    • ‘Well, cliftying was something we picked up from the people we'd relieved.’
    • ‘Even the notorious striped sentry box was cliftied from the barracks under cover of glaring headlights.’
    purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shoplift
    View synonyms


Early 20th century (as clefty): probably from Greek kleptēs ‘thief’.