One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chiefly poetic. A pirate; (sometimes more generally) a person engaged in stealing, plunder, etc., who travels by water.
2A fitting for the end of a hosepipe for dividing the flow into three or more separate streams.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Shakespeare (1564–1616), playwright and poet. From water + thief.
water thief/ˈwɔːtə θiːf/
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