• Thief. Neapolitan
    Thief. Neapolitan
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n thief a criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it
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Additional illustrations & photos:

Thief and Pig Thief and Pig

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Eugene-Francois Midocq, a French thief and outlaw, evaded the police for years, turned police spy, joined the force as a detective, and ultimately used his knowledge of crime to establish a new crime-fighting organization, the Surete.
    • Thief A waster in the snuff of a candle. "Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night.""Some roving robber calling to his fellows."
    • Thief One who steals; one who commits theft or larceny. See Theft. "There came a privy thief , men clepeth death.""Where thieves break through and steal."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n thief A person who steals, or is guilty of larceny or robbery; one who takes the goods or property of another without the owner's knowledge or consent; especially, one who deprives another of property secretly or without open force, as opposed to a robber, who openly uses violence. In the authorized version of the Bible, however, and in the older literature generally, thief is used where we now say robber.
    • n thief A person guilty of cunning or deceitful acts; a lawless person; an evil-doer: used in reproach.
    • n thief An imperfection in the wick of a candle, causing it to gutter.
    • n thief A tin can to which a small line or becket is attached, used as a drinking-cup by sailors. It is made heavier on one side, so that it will capsize when it is dropped in the water.
    • n thief A thief-tube.
    • n thief Same as hermit-crab.
    • n thief Synonyms Pilferer, Pirate (see robber), pickpocket, cutpurse. See pillage, n.
    • n thief The bramble Rubus fruticosus. Compare theve-thorn.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Thief thēf one who steals or takes unlawfully what is not his own
    • ***


  • John Milton
    “How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!”
  • Aristotle
    “Every rascal is not a thief, but every thief is a rascal.”
  • Edgar Watson Howe
    “Many a man is saved from being a thief by finding everything locked up.”
  • French Proverb
    French Proverb
    “Set a thief to catch a thief.”
  • French Proverb
    French Proverb
    “Save a thief from the gallows and he will cut your throat.”
  • Francis Bacon
    “Opportunity makes a thief.”


Set a thief to catch a thief - The best person to catch a criminal is another criminal as they understand how criminals work.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. thef, theef, AS. þeóf,; akin to OFries. thiaf, OS. theof, thiof, D. dief, G. dieb, OHG. diob, Icel. þjōfr, Sw. tjuf, Dan. tyv, Goth. þiufs, þiubs, and perhaps to Lith. tupeti, to squat or crouch down. Cf. Theft
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. theóf; Ice. thjóf-r, Ger. dieb.


In literature:

Every boy should do over to him, and shout into his face, three times, thief, thief, thief.
"Jewish Children" by Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich
She had the name of a thief wished on her until she got to be one.
"Penny of Top Hill Trail" by Belle Kanaris Maniates
He's treacherous, ungrateful, a born thief.
"'Me-Smith'" by Caroline Lockhart
The thief has evidently had the conductor's key or he couldn't have got into my compartment!
"The Golden Face" by William Le Queux
Set a thief to catch a thief.
"The Scarlet Feather" by Houghton Townley
To-day we destroy the den that helped make her a thief.
"The Battle with the Slum" by Jacob A. Riis
How had she dared think him a thief?
"The Ranch at the Wolverine" by B. M. Bower
It is true; I am accused of being a thief.
"Good Luck" by L. T. Meade
He may have passed through a dozen hands since the thief had him.
"The Young Surveyor;" by J. T. Trowbridge
He'll been thief, too, all same like every fox.
"The Young Alaskans on the Trail" by Emerson Hough

In poetry:

I once a King and chief
Now am the tree-bark’s thief,
Ever ’twixt trunk and leaf
Chasing the prey.
"The Woodpecker" by William Morris
"Neither by beauty nor belief
Nor white example shown.
Something a wanton—more a thief—
But—most of all—mine own."
"Dinah in Heaven" by Rudyard Kipling
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
"Good Friday" by Christina Georgina Rossetti
Count me a priest who understands
The glorious pain of nail-pierced hands;
Count me a comrade of the thief
Hot driven into late belief.
"Weltschmertz" by Paul Laurence Dunbar
O hasten and run to Signy’s bower
For the life of that sweet thing;
Hasten and run to the gallows high,
No thief is Hafbur the King.”
"Hafbur And Signy" by William Morris
"And only Gorav, my good dog," said he,
"Got the man by the throat,
There would be a thief in the parish, and a poor man," said he.
"The Miracle Of The Corn" by Padraic Colum

In news:

NOPD releases video with pizazz to catch thief.
You may think older, beat up cars are the last things a thief.
Gas station posts sign picturing candy thief in the act.
All signs point to a candy thief on the loose in Port St Lucie.
The thief had better tread softly.
A student had his iPod stolen on Fort Greene Place on Nov 3 — but the thief apparently didn't get far.
Tatnuck author event – 'The Water Thief .
Tatnuck author event – 'The Water Thief.
Painter Henri Matisse called him fifi voleur — a crude way of saying thief.
The Winkelvoss Twins may have sued Mark Zuckerberg for being a fraud and a thief but they still believe in HIM and his company.
Alleged ring thief faces new charges.
This sight looked very pretty to one clever thief who tricked a Walmart clerk into letting her brazenly take money out of the drawer.
A thief has stolen copper from an air condition ing unit at a church in southeast Houston, according to police.
(Two other characters took up the mantle after Pym moved on -- one a thief named Scott Lang and the other a sketchy SHIELD agent.
Published Thursday, Dec 6, 2012, at 9:42 a.m. BOARDMAN, Ohio — A thief who made off with cash from a Salvation Army red kettle at a northern Ohio mall this week apparently has had a change of heart.

In science:

Additionally, the main thief from the m = 1 efficiency is m = 0, especially for redder wavelengths.
Methods for evaluating the performance of volume phase holographic gratings for the VIRUS spectrograph array