Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
like a thief in the night
In a swift and secretive, stealthy, or surreptitious manner. The cancer spread through my lungs and into my bones like a thief in the night, giving me no chance of beating it.
thief in the night
A person or thing that moves in a swift and secretive, stealthy, or surreptitious manner. The cancer spread through my lungs and into my bones like a thief in the night, giving me no chance of beating it.
be (as) thick as thieves
To be very close friends. Anna and Beth are together all the time these days—they're as thick as thieves.
there is honor among thieves
Even criminals have a code of conduct or principle, especially not to inform against one another. Often used in the negative. Given the chance, most criminals facing extensive jail time are more than willing to give up their associates for a more lenient sentence, disposing of the ridiculous notion that there is honor among thieves. "You'll receive no reward, no benefit for protecting other criminals," the police chief said during his public statement. "There is no honor among thieves—if you have information to make this city safer, do the right thing and report it."
(as) thick as thieves
Having a close, intimate friendship or alliance. Anna and Beth are together all the time these days—they're as thick as thieves. The guys who work in the warehouse are thick as thieves. They don't really socialize with anyone else in the company.
Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
Prov. Truly expert criminals are never caught. Everyone's making such a fuss because they convicted that bank robber, but he must not have been a very dangerous criminal. Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
Opportunity makes a thief.
Prov. Anyone would steal, given a chance to do so without being punished. Mr. Cooper thought of himself as a moral man. But opportunity makes a thief, and with the safe unguarded he had the opportunity to steal thousands of dollars undetected.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Prov. If you put off doing what you ought to do, you will end up not having enough time to do it properly. Jim: Have you started looking for a job yet? Jane: Oh, that can wait till tomorrow. Jim: Procrastination is the thief of time.
Set a thief to catch a thief.
Prov. The best person to catch a thief is another thief, because he or she knows how thieves think. The government set a thief to catch a thief, hiring a stockbroker convicted of fraudulent practices to entrap the stockbroker they were investigating for fraud.
There is honor among thieves.
Prov. Criminals do not commit crimes against each other. The gangster was loyal to his associates and did not tell their names to the police, demonstrating that there is honor among thieves.
*thick as thieves
Cliché very close-knit; friendly; allied. (Thick = close and loyal. *Also: as ~.) Mary, Tom, and Sally are as thick as thieves. They go everywhere together. Those two families are thick as thieves.
it takes one to know one
The person who expressed criticism has similar faults to the person being criticized. This classic retort to an insult dates from the early 1900s. For example, You say she's a terrible cook? It takes one to know one! For a synonym, see pot calling the kettle black. A near equivalent is the proverbial it takes a thief to catch a thief, meaning "no one is better at finding a wrongdoer than another wrongdoer." First recorded in 1665, it remains current.
thick as thieves
Intimate, closely allied, as in The sisters-in-law are thick as thieves. This term uses thick in the sense of "intimate," a usage that is obsolete except in this simile. [Early 1800s]
thick as thieves
If two or more people are as thick as thieves, they are very friendly with each other. Jones and Cook had met at the age of ten and were as thick as thieves. Grant went to school with Maloney, the other lawyer in town. They're thick as thieves.