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- (transitive) To take the property of another, often in breach of trust; to appropriate wrongfully; to steal.
- 1900, One Who Was in It, chapter 8, in Kruger's Secret Service, pages 168–169:
- Probably my acquaintance, Mr Blank, therefore, would have been able, if he had so wished to do, to purloin the papers which he mentioned.
- 1916, chapter 4, in A. Cecil Curtis, transl., Royal Highness, translation of Königliche Hoheit by Thomas Mann:
- The refreshment room was full of chatter and babble, which attracted everybody's envious glances. Some one had left his set in the middle of the dance, purloined a sandwich from the buffet, and was now chewing away proudly as he swerved and stamped, to the amusement of the rest.
- (intransitive) To commit theft; to thieve.
to take the property of another