One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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’
purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shopliftView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- ‘A bust of Mussolini was cliftied by their squadron.’
- ‘Every one of these items had been cliftied, and appropriately, the marquee was also illegally acquired.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Even the notorious striped sentry box was cliftied from the barracks under cover of glaring headlights.’
Early 20th century (as clefty): probably from Greek kleptēs ‘thief’.
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