pilfer pil‧fer [ˈpɪlfə ǁ -ər] verb [transitive]
to steal small amounts of things, or things that are not worth much, especially from an office, factory etc:

• An employee has been charged with pilfering a set of automobile wheels.

— pilfering noun [uncountable] :

• Stationery stocks are running 15% below last year's levels, mostly due to pilfering.

— pilferage noun [uncountable] :

• Losses from employee pilferage are estimated at $8 billion.

* * *

pilfer UK US /ˈpɪlfər/ verb [I or T]
to steal things that are not worth much money, especially from the place where you work: »

He was caught pilfering stationery more than once.

to steal money, ideas, information, etc. from an organization: »

They were charged with conspiracy to pilfer $600m from a major international conglomerate.


U.S. officials claimed the plane's electronic surveillance equipment had been thoroughly examined and pilfered by their military.

pilferage noun [U]

Closed circuit TVs have helped reduce the levels of pilferage experienced by retailers.

pilfering noun [U]

His pilfering of the fund landed him in prison and destroyed his political career.

See Note STEAL(Cf. ↑steal)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • pilfer — pil·fer / pil fər/ vi: to steal esp. in small amounts and often again and again accused of pilfer ing from passenger luggage vt: to steal or steal from esp. in small quantities found pilfer ing goods from a store he was guarding pil·fer·age / pil …   Law dictionary

  • pilfer — (v.) 1540s, from pilfer (n.), c.1400, from O.Fr. pelfre booty, spoils (11c.), of unknown origin, possibly related to PELF (Cf. pelf). Related: Pilfered; pilfering …   Etymology dictionary

  • Pilfer — Pil fer, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Pilfered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Pilfering}.] [OF. pelfrer. See {Pelf}.] To steal in small quantities, or articles of small value; to practice petty theft. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pilfer — Pil fer, v. t. To take by petty theft; to filch; to steal little by little. [1913 Webster] And not a year but pilfers as he goes Some youthful grace that age would gladly keep. Cowper. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pilfer — *steal, filch, purloin, lift, pinch, snitch, swipe, cop Analogous words: seize, *take, grasp, grab, snatch: *catch, capture: *rob, rifle, loot, plunder …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pilfer — meaning ‘to steal (something trivial)’, has inflected forms pilfered, pilfering …   Modern English usage

  • pilfer — [v] steal, embezzle annex, appropriate, borrow, cop*, crib*, filch*, liberate*, lift*, moonlight*, palm*, pinch*, pluck*, purloin, requisition, rip off*, rob, scrounge, snare, snatch, swipe, take, thieve, walk off with*; concepts 139,142,192 Ant …   New thesaurus

  • pilfer — ► VERB ▪ steal (things of little value). DERIVATIVES pilferage noun. ORIGIN Old French pelfrer to pillage …   English terms dictionary

  • pilfer — [pil′fər] vt., vi. [< MFr pelfrer < pelfre, booty] to steal (esp. small sums or petty objects); filch pilferer n …   English World dictionary

  • pilfer — UK [ˈpɪlfə(r)] / US [ˈpɪlfər] verb [intransitive/transitive] Word forms pilfer : present tense I/you/we/they pilfer he/she/it pilfers present participle pilfering past tense pilfered past participle pilfered to steal things, especially from the… …   English dictionary

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