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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.
See also: like, night, thief

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.
See also: night, thief

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.
See also: thick, thief

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."
See also: among, honor, there, thief

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.
See also: but, escape, great, little, one, thief

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.
See also: make, opportunity, thief

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.
See also: of, thief, 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.
See also: catch, set, thief

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.
See also: among, honor, there, thief

*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.
See also: thick, thief

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.
See also: know, one, take

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]
See also: thick, thief

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.
See also: thick, thief

thick as thieves

(of two or more people) very close or friendly; sharing secrets. informal
See also: thick, thief

(there is) honour among ˈthieves

(saying) used to say that even criminals have standards of behaviour that they respect
See also: among, honour, thief

it ˌtakes one to ˈknow one

(informal, disapproving) you are the same kind of person as the person you are criticizing: ‘Your brother is a real idiot.’ ‘Well, it takes one to know one.’
See also: know, one, take

(as) thick as ˈthieves (with somebody)

(informal) (of two or more people) very friendly with each other, especially in a way that makes other people suspicious: Those two are as thick as thieves — they go everywhere together. OPPOSITE: be at daggers drawn
See also: thick, thief

like a ˌthief in the ˈnight

secretly or unexpectedly: In the end I left like a thief in the night, without telling anybody or saying goodbye.
See also: like, night, thief
References in periodicals archive ?
Indeed the court sessions became mass trials, wherein all sorts of people - from stock thieves to people who for one reason of another did not want to participate in the trials, from those involved in land disputes to committee members themselves - appeared before Makhulu Span.
In this collection, Komunyakaa reminds us of the many thieves of paradise that have gone unconquered.
But be careful not to get caught up in the drama of the fraud: Put less emphasis on the thieves and their reasons for stealing, focusing instead on the modus operandi.
About Three Thieves: The Three Thieves (developed by Charles Bieler, Joel Gott and Roger Scommegna) is the leading brand of Rebel Wine Company, a joint venture with Trinchero Family Estates.
Brig (R) Syed Nadeem, a resident of Morgah, lodged a complaint with the local police that thieves made their way into his house and made off with gold ornaments, 26 diamonds, two laptops, two wrist watches, two cell phones and their valuables.
SCHOLES: Thursday June 25 - Thieves stole pedal cycle, chain saw and drill from unlocked garage.
When they reached their destination, the rickshaw driver sought Rs30 as the wage but the thieves handed him Rs2,000 and asked him to enjoy.
Shopwatch members have a direct link with each other and police to enable them to share information about thieves and report incidents to police.
We're working hard to reduce crime even further and asking people to help us by making it even harder for thieves.
Thieves are increasingly targeting cars left unattended in thisway - a spate of recent thefts shows thieves are on the prowl," warns insurance body the ABI.
The thieves sometimes victimize people inside the stores, said Livingstone, recalling a case in which someone grabbed a woman's purse while she was shopping at a Simi Valley department store right around Christmas.
The Courier of Texas reported January 19 that Ricky Otis, a homebuilder from New Caney, surprised two thieves at a construction site, wounding one and scaring the other away.
A CAR owner was almost mown down as he tried to stop thieves taking his car early today.
Imagine a workplace where everyone's talent meshes perfectly with the needs and gifts of all our coworkers, where we pull together like a team of world-class athletes, musicians, or even thieves, where our projects are choreographed by a genius, and we execute our tasks with the smooth efficiency of a well-oiled machine.
Criminals stole her bills from the mailbox, and, within hours, a gang of identity thieves dipped her checks into chemicals and rewrote the checks to themselves for up to $450 each.