Definition of rob in English:



  • 1Take property unlawfully from (a person or place) by force or threat of force.

    ‘he tried, with three others, to rob a bank’
    ‘she was robbed of her handbag’
    • ‘Recently, too, a person was attacked and robbed in daylight on a Dublin street.’
    • ‘From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.’
    • ‘Our local convenience store is robbed so often the staff seem to expect it.’
    • ‘A teenager was today nursing a suspected broken nose after he was beaten and robbed by a car gang.’
    • ‘Police yesterday launched a massive hunt for a thug who robbed a terrified pub landlady at gunpoint.’
    • ‘He was robbed twice of the money donated by those who were moved by his cause.’
    • ‘The former Major League Baseball pitcher has been arrested for allegedly robbing a jewelry store in Florida.’
    • ‘While in Hawaii for a surf contest, Frank and Joe's hotel room is robbed.’
    • ‘The post office has been robbed twice before, the last time just four weeks ago.’
    • ‘The trio led police on a high-speed chase today after allegedly robbing a house in Lake Los Angeles.’
    • ‘The audience assumes that the bank will now be robbed and that will be it, but the Director has other ideas.’
    • ‘Being robbed of the £1,000 deposit for a new flat is the last thing Paul Hunt needs at the moment.’
    • ‘On one hand, they did nothing physically wrong - it would be like watching from a street while a guy robs a TV store.’
    • ‘One night after a match, a thief robs the wrestling box office.’
    • ‘Police are searching for witnesses after a man was robbed at knifepoint in a Swindon park.’
    • ‘Police are hunting a man after a woman was robbed at gunpoint in a Bradford subway.’
    • ‘If there are three thugs robbing somebody you have to arrest all three to solve it perfectly.’
    • ‘The sheriff had arrested some bandits who robbed a train.’
    • ‘When asked why he robbed banks, a noted criminal's famous reply was ‘That's where the money is.’’
    • ‘Once she changes into a criminal and starts attacking people in dark alleys and robbing them, she's out of the picture.’
    steal from
    cheat, swindle, defraud, fleece, dispossess
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    1. 1.1informal Overcharge (someone) for something.
      ‘Bob thinks my suit cost £70, and even then he thinks I was robbed’
      • ‘The works are being done but they (insurance companies) are just robbing us blind, " she said.’
      • ‘The airline robbed me blind again, of which more in another post.’
      overcharge, charge too much
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    2. 1.2informal, dialect Steal.
      ‘someone had robbed my jacket’
      burgle, steal from, hold up, break into
      purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shoplift
      steal, purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shoplift
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    3. 1.3rob someone of Deprive someone of (something needed or deserved)
      ‘poor health has robbed her of a normal social life’
      • ‘Today the elderly are often ignored, while the young are robbed of a carefree childhood.’
      • ‘The generals felt they were about to be robbed of their victory and, worse, their honor.’
      • ‘The trust fears that, if the missing track is not replaced, the tram society will withdraw - taking their trams with them and robbing Heaton Park of a popular attraction.’
      • ‘Such a ruling could effectively rob Congress of its oversight powers for a very long time.’
      • ‘This detracts from the impressions of true giants, robbing them of the respect they deserve.’
      • ‘Fat makes the digestive system work harder than other foods do, thereby robbing the body of much-needed energy.’
      • ‘They lost their jobs, were robbed of all dignity, and yet still soldiered on to achieve great things that were often ignored by history books because of their lifestyle.’
      • ‘However big the reparation they receive, it will never replace what they have been robbed of.’
      • ‘‘Malaria is robbing Africa of its people and potential,’ said Gates.’
      • ‘The foot and mouth crisis, robbing Ireland of farm and tourism revenue, is also to blame.’
      • ‘Average life expectancy has sunk dramatically and young people have been robbed of any chance to find a reasonable job.’
      • ‘You believe in all these good things, and eventually the world robs you of that.’
      • ‘Overjoyed members of Ward's family said he had been robbed of six years of his life after the short hearing concluded.’
      • ‘An administrative error has been blamed for robbing Bradford of the title of Britain's curry capital - to the fury of its restaurateurs.’
      • ‘The death of Alfred Schnittke in 1998 robbed the world of one of its most distinctive symphonists.’
      • ‘I would be heartbroken if I were to win an Oscar and yet be robbed of this moment.’
      • ‘In a very real way, these plaintiffs were robbed of their childhood.’
      • ‘A glut of injuries, all at the one time, robbed us of most of our key players.’
      • ‘A grassroots vote-buying culture has also robbed the people of their right to elect the wise and the able.’
      • ‘The injuries also robbed him of his rhythm during the season.’
      deprive, strip, divest
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    4. 1.4Soccer Deprive (an opposing player) of the ball.
      ‘Hughes robbed Vonk yards inside the City half’
      • ‘There were early flashes, Figo robbed Iulian Filipesco of the ball in the fifth minute to supply Numo Gomes with a shot that darted past the left post.’
      • ‘Great tenacity from Grant which saw him rob Devenney of the ball set up a point for Mickey Linden and Down kept their noses in front.’
      • ‘Brentford's other goals came from Stephen Hunt and Ben May, who robbed Tabb of a possible hat-trick by converting his on-target shot.’
      • ‘Robson had robbed David Lilley of the ball and just managed to fend off the Kilmarnock defenders.’
      • ‘After robbing John Hughes of possession his drive was parried by the Falkirk goalkeeper, and Tunbridge could only lob the rebound over the bar.’


  • rob Peter to pay Paul

    • Take something away from one person to pay another; discharge one debt only to incur another.

      ‘mainstream funding for the college was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul, reducing the budget all around for other colleges’
      • ‘An anxious headteacher has told how she was having to rob Peter to pay Paul in a bid to try to balance the books at her school.’
      • ‘He described the move, which involves taking €20m from the third-level capital programme for this year, as robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
      • ‘‘That is nothing short of robbing Peter to pay Paul - a knee-jerk reaction that is totally inappropriate,’ added Mr Jepson.’
      • ‘"While it has been great for local staff to have the opportunity to move up the ranks, it's been a situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul."’
      • ‘There's simply no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul, because it doesn't achieve anything, as this man discovered at great cost.’
      • ‘It is an example of that adage of politics: ‘Any program that robs Peter to pay Paul will have the enthusiastic support of Paul.’’
      • ‘‘We would have to dip into other programs to keep Energy Harvest going, and I don't want to rob Peter to pay Paul, ‘Rendell says.’’
      • ‘They say they want to increase the level of support for people wishing to remain in their own homes, which everyone agrees with, but you shouldn't rob Peter to pay Paul.’
      • ‘They're essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul at a time when they should be hiring as many people as possible.’
      • ‘And the main source of funding, a $1.2 billion cut in vocational education programs, is seen by some on Capitol Hill as robbing Peter to pay Paul.’


Middle English: from Old French rober, of Germanic origin; related to the verb reave.