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pilfer Syllabification: pil·fer
Pronunciation: /ˈpilfər/

Definition of pilfer in English:


[with object]
Steal (typically things of relatively little value).
Example sentences
  • The bad guys steal your mail or pilfer your trash, coming up with enough personal information to apply for bank accounts, credit cards and loans with your name and credit rating but with their address.
  • Fights were sometimes orchestrated under false pretences, so that inmates could swipe and pilfer a target person's store items.
  • After all, these nightly visitors aren't there to snitch snapdragons or pilfer peas.
informal swipe, rob, nab, rip off, lift, “liberate”, “borrow”, filch, snaffle


Pronunciation: /ˈpilf(ə)rij/
Example sentences
  • Employers justify surveillance practices by claiming that they ensure increased productivity, and reduce theft and pilferage in the workplace.
  • This is especially true if we consider how various forms of pilferage, theft, and minor fraud relate to the way different kinds of work are organized and the occupational socialization that people experience.
  • Then he discovered that some of those hires were fleecing the business - through a combination of pilferage and outright theft that added up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Pronunciation: /ˈpilf(ə)rər/
Example sentences
  • Masses of all kinds of pilferers and robbers with spades and shovels in their hands were there digging and searching and raking and straining the sand.
  • Moving on to talk about that ex-Marine, former White House staffer, rookie FBI analyst, pilferer of classified computer files.
  • Indeed, the pilferers might legitimately claim that they were recovering wealth that had previously been taken from them in the form of taxation.


Late Middle English (as a noun in the sense 'action of pilfering, something pilfered'): from Old French pelfrer 'to pillage', of unknown origin. Compare with pelf.

Definition of pilfer in:
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