Definition of thief noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//θiːf//
; NAmE NAmE//θiːf//
(pl. thieves
BrE BrE//θiːvz//
; NAmE NAmE//θiːvz//
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  • a person who steals something from another person or place a car/jewel, etc. thief CollocationsCrimeCommitting a crime commit a crime/​a murder/​a violent assault/​a brutal killing/​an armed robbery/​fraud be involved in terrorism/​a suspected arson attack/​people smuggling/​human trafficking engage/​participate in criminal activity/​illegal practices/​acts of mindless vandalism steal somebody’s wallet/​purse/(British English) mobile phone/(North American English) cell phone rob a bank/​a person/​a tourist break into/ (British English) burgle/ (North American English) burglarize a house/​a home/​an apartment hijack a plane/​ship/​bus smuggle drugs/​weapons/​arms/​immigrants launder drug money (through something) forge documents/​certificates/​passports take/​accept/​pay somebody/​offer (somebody) a bribe run a phishing/​an email/​an Internet scamFighting crime combat/​fight crime/​terrorism/​corruption/​drug trafficking prevent/​stop credit-card fraud/​child abuse/​software piracy deter/​stop criminals/​burglars/​thieves/​shoplifters/​vandals reduce/​tackle/​crack down on knife/​gun/​violent/​street crime; (especially British English) antisocial behaviour foil a bank raid/​a terrorist plot help/​support/​protect the victims of crimeInvestigating crime report a crime/​a theft/​a rape/​an attack/(especially British English) an incident to the police witness the crime/​attack/​murder/​incident investigate a murder/(especially North American English) a homicide/​a burglary/​a robbery/​the alleged incident conduct/​launch/​pursue an investigation (into…); (especially British English) a police/​murder inquiry investigate/​reopen a criminal/​murder case examine/​investigate/​find fingerprints at the crime scene/​the scene of crime collect/​gather forensic evidence uncover new evidence/​a fraud/​a scam/​a plot/​a conspiracy/​political corruption/​a cache of weapons describe/​identify a suspect/​the culprit/​the perpetrator/​the assailant/​the attacker question/​interrogate a suspect/​witness solve/​crack the case see also theft See related entries: Criminals
  • Word OriginOld English thīof, thēof, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dief and German Dieb, also to theft.Extra examples A thief snatched her handbag containing her wages. The alarm is usually sufficient to deter a would-be thief. The thief struck while the family were out. A car thief made off with a top director’s BMW last night.Idioms
    (there is) honour among thieves
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    (saying) used to say that even criminals have standards of behaviour that they respect
    (informal) (of two or more people) very friendly, especially in a way that makes other people suspicious
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: thief

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