thief

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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 the spelling of deep from Old English deop.)

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

thief (plural thieves)

  1. One who carries out a theft.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:thief
  2. One who steals another person's property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
  3. (obsolete) A waster in the snuff of a candle.
    • 1640, Joseph Hall, Divine Light
      But hear you , my Worthy Brethren : do not you , where you see a thief in the candle , call presently for an extinguisher

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