Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
November 15th, 2015
Episode 381 of 795 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 15, 2015 is: purloin \per-LOYN\ verb : to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust Examples: The columnist resigned from the paper after it was revealed that he had purloined material from other journalists. "The C.I.A. hacks into computers that Senate intelligence committee staffers are using in the basement of a C.I.A. facility because the spy agency thinks its Congressional overseers have hacked into the C.I.A. network to purloin hidden documents on torture." Maureen Dowd, The New York Times, 12 Mar. 2014 Did you know? Purloin, pilfer, and filch may just seem like fancy words for "steal," but each has a slightly different connotation. Pilfer implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts, as in this sentence: "It was months before her boss realized she was pilfering office supplies." Filch adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and surreptitiously, e.g., "He filched an apple from the tray." Purloin stresses removing or carrying off something for one's own use or purposes, as in "She purloined the manuscript and tried to pass it off as her own work."