Definition of rob in English:



[with object]
  • 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’
    no object ‘he was convicted of assault with intent to rob’
    • ‘From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.’
    • ‘The former Major League Baseball pitcher has been arrested for allegedly robbing a jewelry store in Florida.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Recently, too, a person was attacked and robbed in daylight on a Dublin street.’
    • ‘The trio led police on a high-speed chase today after allegedly robbing a house in Lake Los Angeles.’
    • ‘He was robbed twice of the money donated by those who were moved by his cause.’
    • ‘A teenager was today nursing a suspected broken nose after he was beaten and robbed by a car gang.’
    • ‘While in Hawaii for a surf contest, Frank and Joe's hotel room is robbed.’
    • ‘When asked why he robbed banks, a noted criminal's famous reply was ‘That's where the money is.’’
    • ‘The post office has been robbed twice before, the last time just four weeks ago.’
    • ‘Our local convenience store is robbed so often the staff seem to expect it.’
    • ‘Police yesterday launched a massive hunt for a thug who robbed a terrified pub landlady at gunpoint.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police are searching for witnesses after a man was robbed at knifepoint in a Swindon park.’
    • ‘Once she changes into a criminal and starts attacking people in dark alleys and robbing them, she's out of the picture.’
    • ‘One night after a match, a thief robs the wrestling box office.’
    • ‘The audience assumes that the bank will now be robbed and that will be it, but the Director has other ideas.’
    • ‘The sheriff had arrested some bandits who robbed a train.’
    steal from
    cheat, swindle, defraud, fleece, dispossess
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    1. 1.1usually be robbedinformal Overcharge (someone) for something.
      ‘Bob thinks my suit cost $100, and even then he thinks I was robbed’
      • ‘The airline robbed me blind again, of which more in another post.’
      • ‘The works are being done but they (insurance companies) are just robbing us blind, " she said.’
      overcharge, charge too much
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    2. 1.2informal, dialect Steal.
      ‘he accused her of robbing the cream out of his chocolate eclair’
      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. 1.3 Deprive (someone or something) of something needed, deserved, or significant.
      ‘poor health has robbed her of a normal social life’
      • ‘Average life expectancy has sunk dramatically and young people have been robbed of any chance to find a reasonable job.’
      • ‘The death of Alfred Schnittke in 1998 robbed the world of one of its most distinctive symphonists.’
      • ‘The foot and mouth crisis, robbing Ireland of farm and tourism revenue, is also to blame.’
      • ‘Fat makes the digestive system work harder than other foods do, thereby robbing the body of much-needed energy.’
      • ‘The injuries also robbed him of his rhythm during the season.’
      • ‘Overjoyed members of Ward's family said he had been robbed of six years of his life after the short hearing concluded.’
      • ‘In a very real way, these plaintiffs were robbed of their childhood.’
      • ‘However big the reparation they receive, it will never replace what they have been robbed of.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I would be heartbroken if I were to win an Oscar and yet be robbed of this moment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Malaria is robbing Africa of its people and potential,’ said Gates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You believe in all these good things, and eventually the world robs you of that.’
      • ‘Such a ruling could effectively rob Congress of its oversight powers for a very long time.’
      • ‘A grassroots vote-buying culture has also robbed the people of their right to elect the wise and the able.’
      • ‘A glut of injuries, all at the one time, robbed us of most of our key players.’
      • ‘An administrative error has been blamed for robbing Bradford of the title of Britain's curry capital - to the fury of its restaurateurs.’
      • ‘This detracts from the impressions of true giants, robbing them of the respect they deserve.’
      deprive, strip, divest
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  • rob Peter to pay Paul

    • Take something away from one person to pay another, leaving the former at a disadvantage; discharge one debt only to incur another.

      • ‘They're essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul at a time when they should be hiring as many people as possible.’
      • ‘"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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘That is nothing short of robbing Peter to pay Paul - a knee-jerk reaction that is totally inappropriate,’ added Mr Jepson.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He described the move, which involves taking €20m from the third-level capital programme for this year, as robbing Peter to pay Paul.’
      • ‘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.’


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