thief

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Related to thieves: thrive

(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.
See also: thick, 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

it takes a thief to catch a thief

One who is skilled at evading the law is well-trained to find or catch someone who behaves similarly. He's a bank robber, he can definitely help us catch these crooks—it takes a thief to catch a thief, you know.
See also: catch, take, thief

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

Little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.

Those who commit small crimes will face the full consequences of the law, but those who commit crimes on a huge scale will go unpunished. So some guy who holds up a liquor store with a gun because his family can't afford food gets 30 years in prison, but a wealthy CEO who robs millions of people of their pensions gets a few months of community service? I tell you, little thieves are hanged, but great ones escape.
See also: but, great, little, one, thief

opportunity makes a thief

Even those who are morally upright would steal if they were able to do it without getting caught. A: "I figured out a way to collect social welfare while still working." B: "I never thought someone like you would try to rip off the system like that. Opportunity makes a thief, I guess."
See also: make, opportunity, thief

procrastination is the thief of time

It is easy to waste, lose track of, and subsequently run out of time by putting off what one ought to be doing. I know you think two weeks is plenty of time to finish your essay, but you're better off getting to work on it now—procrastination is the thief of time, after all. A: "I'll start studying after I beat one more level in my video game." B: "Don't leave it too late—procrastination is the thief of time!"
See also: of, thief, time

set a thief to catch a thief

To employ a criminal or thief in order to understand, anticipate, and ultimately apprehend another criminal or thief. Honestly, who better to lead an investigation into tax fraud than someone who was convicted of just that? Set a thief to catch a thief, I say. We've actually begun employing prominent members of the hacking community to improve our cyber security, setting thieves to catch thieves, as it were.
See also: catch, set, thief

there is honor among thieves

Even criminals adhere to a code of conduct or certain principles, especially not to inform against one another. Often used in the negative. In the collective of pickpockets, no one dared steal from another. There is some honor among thieves. 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.
See also: among, honor, there, 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

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

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

it takes one to know one

The critic is as bad as the person being criticized. This expression, a modern version of the proverbial “set a thief to catch a thief,” and “a thief knows a thief as well as a wolf knows a wolf,” dates from the early twentieth century.
See also: know, one, take

thick as thieves

On intimate terms; very good friends. The use of thick for “intimate” survives mainly in this cliché, which no doubt owes its popularity to alliteration. It was already proverbial, according to Theodore E. Hook, in 1833 (The Parson’s Daughter): “She and my wife are as thick as thieves, as the proverb goes.”
See also: thick, thief
References in periodicals archive ?
Thieves tried to tear a cash machine from the wall of a Spar shop on Old Mountfield Road in Killyclogher, Co Tyrone.
Why all the thieves have Modi in their names whether be it Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Narendra Modi?
When the thieves were stealing the goats, the house occupants woke up and offered resistance and caught one robber.
Here's a round-up of the incidents from across the Huddersfield area: Colne Valley Linthwaite and Outlane: November 2 at 1.30pm: Thieves forced locks on two sheds in New Hey Road at Outlane and stole a Karcher washer, hand tools and some engine oil.
They saw scattered about untidily, a bowl full of a few cowries acquired through bribery and corruption which they rejected, since they were not pickpockets, and neither were they petty thieves; there were two or three handcuffs which they objected to, because it was a taboo to them, and, of course, there were pieces of papers on which statements and caution statements obtained from complainants and the accused were written, which were of no value to these thieves except if they wanted to use them to clean their somewhere after they had done something in the bush.
In another incident, thieves looted material from a paint shop and tent service shop.
Meanwhile it has been learnt that Parkhoo area in Tehsil Topi was actually struck at night by burglars and thieves. When contacted Topi DSP Kausar Khan said that he was told about the incident by policemen but no one come forward for registering an FIR due to unknown reasons.
Speaking to Daily Messenger, SDO Bhan Syedabad Viji Kumar said that those water thieves were nominated in various police satations including PS Khudabad, police station Bhan, police station Khuro and police station Dero Amenani.
In another incident, thieves looted gold jewellery from a house in Mazhar Fareed Colony.
In another incident, thieves stole Rs25,000 from Khalid Karyana Store at Mauza Pilalpur.
Even though two factions accused in Parliament each other of being thieves, people know who the real thieves were, President Maithripala Sirisena said.
The victim was forced to open the door for the thieves.
SPECIAL 'stinger' bikes are being used to catch out cycle thieves.
When the tired gardener slept during harvest The thieves stole the fruits If you do not have any property in your house Do not wonder since you are asleep and the thieves stole your house There are many thieves on the way Be careful and never let they steal your ride