Theft is the act of stealing something. If you've ever taken your sister's sweater without asking her first, then she's right: that's an instance of theft!

The word theft refers to taking something from someone else without getting permission. Shoplifting is a form of theft, as is embezzling a million dollars from your business partner's Swiss bank account. In the United States, petty theft is the act of stealing anything worth less than $500, like someone's bike or a pack of gum. It's still a punishable crime, but you will get in much bigger trouble if you steal something more valuable, like a car.

Definitions of theft
  1. noun
    the act of taking something from someone unlawfully
    synonyms: larceny, stealing, thievery, thieving
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    breach of trust with fraudulent intent
    larceny after trust rather than after unlawful taking
    defalcation, embezzlement, misapplication, misappropriation, peculation
    the fraudulent appropriation of funds or property entrusted to your care but actually owned by someone else
    the act of stealing small amounts or small articles
    shoplifting, shrinkage
    the act of stealing goods that are on display in a store
    larceny by threat of violence
    biological theft; illegal collection of indigenous plants by corporations who patent them for their own use
    grand larceny, grand theft
    larceny of property having a value greater than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
    petit larceny, petty, petty larceny
    larceny of property having a value less than some amount (the amount varies by locale)
    failure to declare income in order to avoid paying taxes on it
    the stealing of cattle
    an attempt by speculators to defraud investors
    the act of plundering (especially the embezzlement of goods on shipboard)
    armed robbery, heist, holdup, stickup
    robbery at gunpoint
    caper, job
    a crime (especially a robbery)
    dacoity, dakoity
    robbery by a gang of armed dacoits
    heist, rip-off
    the act of stealing
    highjacking, hijacking
    robbery of a traveller or vehicle in transit or seizing control of a vehicle by the use of force
    highway robbery
    robbery of travellers on or near a public road
    the act of robbing a helpless person
    type of:
    a serious crime (such as murder or arson)
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