Definition of pickpocket in English:



  • A person who steals from people's pockets.

    • ‘There was, of course, nothing she could do at the moment as pickpockets and others thieves worked they way through the streets of the large, bustling city.’
    • ‘The piper children are expert pickpockets and thieves, they have amassed countless treasures yet rarely sell them or spend any money.’
    • ‘Some conclude that by the 1840s pickpockets and shoplifters alike tended to be adults and professional thieves.’
    • ‘What floor he was born on is still unknown, but for the better part of his sixteen years of life he was a thief, a pickpocket.’
    • ‘Like his brother, he was also a thief, pickpocket, mugger, robber, and arsonist, etc, but he didn't like killing people.’
    • ‘They are all reformed criminals - drug dealers, pickpockets, and thieves who have agreed to go straight and earn their money honestly.’
    • ‘Most pickpockets are cautious thieves hoping to avoid any kind of confrontation.’
    • ‘The station is regarded as a high-risk area frequented by pickpockets and thieves.’
    • ‘There are well-documented gangs of child pickpockets and other assorted thieves operating on both sides of the border.’
    • ‘Last Tuesday, police community support officers patrolled the market, keeping an eye out for thieves and pickpockets, while distributing crime prevention leaflets to stallholders and shoppers.’
    • ‘Whether it is day or night, travellers find it unsafe to stay for long hours waiting for buses here as it is the hub of pickpockets and petty thieves.’
    • ‘He was too clumsy, for one thing - he walked heavily, forever bumping into things, and she could not see him as a pickpocket or a highway robber.’
    • ‘And on screen, she could play sentimental innocents, as well as jewel thieves, cross-dressing pickpockets, and slippery vamps.’
    • ‘One of the biggest dangers to commuters at the time was the constant threat of pickpockets and other petty thieves preying upon unsuspecting victims.’
    • ‘It was clearly a haven for thieves, pickpockets, scoundrels, and worse.’
    • ‘The beggars in the city also indicate that there are thieves, pickpockets, robbers and the like lurking around.’
    • ‘It cites problems with beggars harassing shoppers, illegal street traders, shoplifters and pickpockets, litter, assault and robbery.’
    • ‘We must be on the look out for thieves and pickpockets, but also for anything suspicious in case of a terror attack.’
    • ‘These were people who often turned to crime to make a living such as highwaymen or pickpockets, migrant workers who roamed the country looking for work, and individuals who begged for a living.’
    • ‘Not even the moon shone on the black, starless night and the woman picked her way carefully across the city, keeping a wary eye out for cutpurses and nocturnal pickpockets.’
    thief, petty thief, sneak thief
    bag-snatcher, purse-snatcher
    cutpurse, pickpurse, pocket-picker, purse-picker, finger, dipper, reefer
    View synonyms


  • Steal from the pockets of (someone)

    ‘I think someone pickpocketed me in Brighton on my way to the station’
    ‘crimes such as pickpocketing’
    • ‘Although the public fear being a victim of identity fraud more than pickpocketing, mugging or even burglary, a large number still put themselves at risk by disposing of private information without first rendering it unreadable.’
    • ‘Their targets are the estimated 40 to 50 criminals who specialise in pickpocketing, handbag snatching and breaking into cars.’
    • ‘It's a market day and you tend to get higher levels of street crime and pickpocketing.’
    • ‘He also noted an increase in police patrols around the capital which has resulted in a marked reduction in pickpocketing and shoplifting over the past two weeks.’
    • ‘More than 80 percent said they or people close to them had been a victim of a crime - primarily burglaries, pickpocketing and purse-snatchings, as violent crimes are relatively rare.’