thief


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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

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 ?
Grail to the Thief stars Hank Krang, a thief from the future, and his self-aware time machine, TEDI, as they go throughout time stealing priceless artifacts.
When we read the divan of Parvin we encounter with thief and by studying the couplets we observe that how she has used thief in different meanings with simple explanation:
The thief spends another minute wrestling with the lock before cutting through it and grabbing the bike, putting it on the pavement and cycling away.
As in Thief, the city environment around the character is controlled by the brutal government.
Certainly, no one will who has not already been entranced by the character of the Thief in the first book.
In this exciting sequel to Brendell: Apprentice Thief Writer Welch has crafted a well-written, intricate account over flowing with zestful deception, potent emotions, and precarious stratagem all ingeniously interwoven to grant the reader a spine tingling journey from opening page to ending paragraph.
Once the thief acquires enough information, they can obtain credit cards, bank accounts, a driver's license and other financial and legal documents in the victim's name.
A thief comes to the rabbi with a purse full of money and tells the rabbi that he found it in the street and would like the rabbi to find its owner.
Stella discovers that the berry thief is an enormous bear
The thief may have to try different amounts, reducing the amount requested each time, before obtaining approval.
Park manager Mike Petty had stopped the nonplussed thief and his three Seminole Indian companions as they emerged from the woods carrying their bounty.
Inspector Gordon Nicholl, of Tayside Police, where the British egg thief intelligence unit is based, said: "The damage the egg thieves can do is critical when you only have small numbers of birds left.
He claimed that the store was negligent in its apprehension of the thief.
He then witnessed the trial, conviction and beating of two of his paternal uncles, one of whom he described as a stock thief and the other as a suspected thief.