den of thieves, a

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den of thieves, a

A group of individuals or a place strongly suspected of underhanded dealings. This term appears in the Bible (Matthew 21:13) when Jesus, driving the moneychangers from the Temple, said, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Daniel Defoe used the term in Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, and by the late eighteenth century it was well known enough to be listed with other collective terms such as “House of Commons” in William Cobbett’s English Grammar in a discussion of syntax relating to pronouns.
See also: den, of