May 11, 2016
filch (verb)
\FILCH\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to steal something slyly
How do you use it?
In Charles Dickens' _Oliver Twist_, the criminal Fagin gets orphans like Oliver to filch things for him, but Oliver resists.
Are you a word wiz?

Although "filch" has been around since the 1500s, Dickens (who lived in the 1800s) didn't use the word in _Oliver Twist_. He did, however, use a synonym of the word. Which of the following words do you think it is?

We're not going to be sly about it: "pilfer" is a synonym for "filch." Both words, along with "purloin" and "steal," mean "to take from another without right or without detection." While "pilfer" implies stealing repeatedly in small amounts, "filch" adds a suggestion of snatching quickly and secretly. "Purloin" stresses removing or carrying off something for your own use or purposes. "Steal," the most common of these words, applies to any secret taking of something and differs from the other terms by commonly applying to things you can't touch—like when you "steal a glance" at something—as well as material things.
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