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From Middle English thef, theef, þef, from Old English þēof, from Proto-Germanic *þeubaz. Spelling from Northern England, where /eːo/ became [iə] rather than [eː]. (Compare p.e. the spelling of deep from Old English deop.)
thief (plural thieves)
- One who carries out a theft.
- [...] water-thieves and land-thieves
- One who steals another person's property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
- (obsolete) A waster in the snuff of a candle.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Hall to this entry?)
- (one who carries out a theft): See Thesaurus:thief
- (one who carries out a theft): See Thesaurus:criminal
one who carries out theft