Definition of thief in US English:


nounPlural thieves

  • A person who steals another person's property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.

    • ‘Against the odds he survives to become a car thief in Miami, all the while plotting his revenge.’
    • ‘Perhaps the thief hid the box until it was safe for him to take it to another area.’
    • ‘Swindon police say that he was away from his bike, delivering a letter, when the thief took the bag.’
    • ‘He was visiting the gym when the thief followed him in, broke into his locker and stole his keys.’
    • ‘He was asked to lock the door if he left the premises but he failed to do so, and a thief entered and stole some jewellery.’
    • ‘Police are mystified as to how the thief managed to open the vehicle without using force.’
    • ‘A young mother was dragged to her knees by a would-be thief who tried to steal her handbag.’
    • ‘A woman dashed out of her house in her pyjamas to disturb a thief who was using a tow truck to try to steal her car.’
    • ‘Police today warned store bosses to be aware of a violent thief working in the area.’
    • ‘Make a car thief a lottery millionaire and it will not immediately improve his sense of etiquette.’
    • ‘As he tried to stop the car, the thief drove off with the passenger door open.’
    • ‘The thief then grabbed her purse as the shocked pensioner raised the alarm by shouting to her husband.’
    • ‘Amazingly, he was left unscathed after being thrown onto the road when the thief refused to stop.’
    • ‘The thief defrauded banks and building societies and left a trail of unpaid bills.’
    • ‘The occupant was in another room when the thief struck, snatching the bag from a table in the living room.’
    • ‘They had accused her of stealing, saying she was a thief and was stealing their things.’
    • ‘When she took the paper bag from the car the thief snatched it from her grasp and fled.’
    • ‘Police were today searching for a thief who snatched hundreds of pounds from a busy shop in Walton.’
    • ‘A by-stander eventually broke up what he thought was a fight and the thief escaped.’
    • ‘Because the code keeps changing, it's impossible for a car thief to grab the correct one.’
    robber, burglar, housebreaker, cat burglar, shoplifter, pickpocket, sneak thief, mugger, larcenist, stealer, pilferer, poacher
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Old English thīof, thēof, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dief and German Dieb, also to theft.