Share this entry
thief Syllabification: thief

Definition of thief in English:

noun (plural thievesTHēvz)

A person who steals another person’s property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
Example sentences
  • They had accused her of stealing, saying she was a thief and was stealing their things.
  • A young mother was dragged to her knees by a would-be thief who tried to steal her handbag.
  • When she took the paper bag from the car the thief snatched it from her grasp and fled.
robber, burglar, housebreaker, cat burglar, rustler, shoplifter, pickpocket, purse snatcher, sneak thief, mugger;
embezzler, swindler, plunderer;
criminal, villain;
informal crook
literary brigand


Old English thīof, thēof, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dief and German Dieb, also to theft.

  • honour from Middle English:

    Latin honor is the source of honour and of honest and honesty (both Middle English). The idea that there is honour among thieves was expressed even in the early 17th century. The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was the first to put it in print in its modern form when he wrote in 1802: ‘A sort of honour may be found (according to a proverbial saying) even among thieves.’ The plant honesty is named from its diaphanous seed pods, translucency symbolizing lack of deceit.

Words that rhyme with thief

aperitif, beef, belief, brief, chief, enfeoff, fief, grief, interleaf, leaf, Leif, lief, Mazar-e-Sharif, misbelief, motif, naif, O'Keeffe, reef, seif, Sharif, sheaf, shereef, sportif, Tenerife
Definition of thief in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources