Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Borrowing from Latin
abigeus (plural abigei)
- (law, Britain, obsolete) A thief who steels livestock in large quantities.
1730, Institutions of the Criminal Law of Scotland, page 127:
- In the Civil Law, he was accounted an Abigeus who carried off one Horse or one Ox, or four Swine or ten Sheep; if he took a smaller Number of Swine or Sheep, he was reckoned a Fur rather than an Abigeus.
1883, A history of the criminal law of England - Volume 1, page 27:
- The stealing of a single horse or ox might make a man an abigeus, but it seems that the crime could not be committed on less than four pigs or ten sheep.
1943, Seminar: Annual Extraordinary Number of The Jurist:
- It is obvious why the thief of only one domestic animal was not treated so severely as an abigeus. The reason for the severe punishment of rustlers, abigei, was the need of a stronger protection for agricultural interest, particularly in countries where these offenses were more frequent.
From abigō (“drive away cattle”).
- abigeus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- du Cange, Charles (1883), “abigeus”, in G. A. Louis Henschel, Pierre Carpentier, Léopold Favre, editors, Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (in Latin), Niort: L. Favre
- “abigeus” in Félix Gaffiot’s Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette (1934)