Online Encyclopedia

THEFT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 743 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THEFT, the act of thieving or stealing. In English legal usage the practice is to call this act by its Norman-French name of " larceny," but properly theft is a wider term including other forms of wrongful deprivation of the property of another (see LARCENY). The O.E. word peof ae or pief $e is formed from peof, thief or peofan, to thieve, cf. Ger. Dieb, Du. dief, Goth. thiubs. The origin is not known. It may be related to Lithuanian tupeti, to crouch or squat down; thus " thief " would mean " 0ne who hides himself." The O.F. stelan, to steal, appears also in other Teat. languages, cf. Du. stelen, Swed. stjdla, Goth, stillan, &c. It has been doubt-fully connected with Gr. orepe"ty, to deprive.
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