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Borrowing from Latin
abigeus (plural abigei)
- (law, Britain, obsolete) A thief who steals 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”).