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From Middle English purloynen (to remove), borrowed from Anglo-Norman purloigner (to put far away), one of the variants of Old French porloignier. Doublet of prolong.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pɜːˈlɔɪn/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪn


purloin (third-person singular simple present purloins, present participle purloining, simple past and past participle purloined)

  1. (transitive) To take the property of another, often in breach of trust; to appropriate wrongfully; to steal.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 2”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      Had from his wakeful custody purloined / The guarded gold.
    • 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.
  2. (intransitive) To commit theft; to thieve.
    • 1622, William Gouge, Of Domestical Duties, published 2006, →ISBN, page 454:
      The Apostle expressly forbiddeth servants to purloin (Titus 2:10).