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thief (n.)

Old English þeof "thief, robber," from Proto-Germanic *theuba- (source also of Old Frisian thiaf, Old Saxon thiof, Middle Dutch and Dutch dief, Old High German diob, German dieb, Old Norse þiofr, Gothic þiufs), a word of uncertain origin.

A thief takes other people's property without their knowledge ; a robber takes it openly, whether or not resistance is offered : in a looser sense, thief is often applied to one who takes a small amount, and robber to one who takes a large amount. [Century Dictionary, 1895]

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Definitions of thief from WordNet

thief (n.)
a criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it;
Synonyms: stealer
From wordnet.princeton.edu