pilfer

To pilfer is to steal something, typically of small value. Minor thefts, like taking a roll of toilet paper out of a public bathroom or napkins from the Early Bird Buffet are what your grandfather, for example, might pilfer.

The verb pilfer comes from the Old French noun pelfre, meaning “booty,” or “spoils.” Now pilfer is used when talking about the act of stealing loot: you may find that you have to really restrain yourself from the desire to pilfer your friend’s new fur-lined gloves, even though you're pretty sure she pilfered your headphones. Robin Hood was able to pilfer from the rich to give to the poor. How romantic!

Definitions of pilfer
1

v make off with belongings of others

Synonyms:
abstract, cabbage, filch, hook, lift, nobble, pinch, purloin, snarf, sneak, swipe
Type of:
steal
take without the owner's consent

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a life-long learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.