Definition of purloin in English:



[WITH OBJECT]formal, humorous
  • Steal (something)

    ‘he must have managed to purloin a copy of the key’
    • ‘The whole issue here is whether their colleagues on the Senate staff side were purloining Democratic staff memos to aid that planning.’
    • ‘In return they are not held liable for the acts of their customers (e.g. transporting dangerous substances, purloined intellectual property, etc).’
    • ‘It seemed that I had somehow purloined a shopping bag laden with firecrackers, blockbusters, cherry bombs, roman candles and sparklers from the Giftland shop at the nearby St. Louis Street Shopping Centre.’
    • ‘And she was at Balmoral, the queen's Scottish estate and purloined a few letters from Prince Charles' briefcase, sent them down to me via an intermediary.’
    • ‘The character Alex McLeish has given to his side is best understood when you recall how first Rangers, and then Celtic, purloined two of his most promising players.’
    • ‘Elsewhere we have to purloin a ladder to get a box down, so we can open it.’
    • ‘Hollywood executives must assume that no one in that great country of theirs can read subtitles, so there's nothing wrong with purloining the imagination of others to present North American versions of Japanese ghost stories.’
    • ‘I must say that I never, myself, discerned in him any literary talent or literary learning, but I noted how quick on the uptake he was to purloin the ideas of other people, and then parrot them at short notice.’
    • ‘Why should a fledgling charismatic church leader be able to purloin another church's title?’
    • ‘The powerful amulet of Samarkand, which is usually in the safekeeping of the government, is purloined by the wicked Lovelace, who, naturally, wants to use it for his own nefarious purposes.’
    • ‘Robert Aickman, who wrote some of the finest supernatural fiction of the 20th century, purloined the word to describe the effect he strove for in his work.’
    • ‘Their images are purloined, confiscated, appropriated, stolen.’
    • ‘Keep in mind that trademarks don't trigger a siren every time someone purloins your idea.’
    • ‘The film opens with Lloyd clutching a briefcase containing one of the diamonds, intent on preventing Max and Lola from purloining it.’
    • ‘Holroyd secretly purloins a ‘fistful’ of Collis's papers and drives off with them.’
    • ‘I'm not saying people should go around purloining things, but the bottom line is, it isn't murder.’
    • ‘Sometimes it's impossible to not purloin an excerpt from another person's blog.’
    • ‘Were old trees being purloined, appropriated wrongfully, when they were sectioned by scientists?’
    • ‘Bits of our constitution were actually purloined from the United States Constitution.’
    • ‘He then graduated to purloining software of major corporations, including major electronic manufacturers.’


Middle English (in the sense ‘put at a distance’): from Anglo-Norman French purloigner put away, from pur- forth + loign far.