Anyone who steals things. As an example, I once stole some light bulbs out of the steam tunnels at my university, thus I am considered a thief.

Also a character archetype in role playing games, books, movies, and stories. They can be good, bad, or somewhere in the shades of grey - but always in the shadows.

"We own the night. Everything else, we have to steal."

Also a kickass computer game in which you go about hiding in shadows and sniping people with a bow; you can also move silently, knock people out, and other such fun stuff.

(Contraction) A pair of videogames (Thief: the Dark Project and Thief II: the Metal Age) developed by the now-defunct Looking Glass Studios. It created a new sub-genre of the first-person shooter that the gaming media termed the "first-person sneaker". Highly innovative (as were many of LGS's games), it placed the player in the role of a master thief by the name of Garrett - a man of razor wit and quick reflexes. Although the game is not the most graphically-impressive you'll see, it provides endless hours of harrowing gameplay - where else can you crouch in the shadows, holding your breath while chain mail-clad guards tromp past, their boots clicking solidly on the cobblestoned streets? This is the thinking man's first person shooter, and provides a spectacularly different sort of gameplay than you'll find anywhere else.

In Diablo 2, thief is a special monster ability that allows the enemy to cause you to drop potions from your belt (the next potion in lines falls into the next place normally). Very few monster had this rare, difficult ability, most notably Lord De Seis, one of the last enemies vefore Diablo. There were so many bugs and crashes associated with this power, that is was taken out of the game alltogether in version 1.04. The potions would fall at your feet, but in the heat of a fast, loaded battle, you could find yourself without a healing aid at a critical moment.

In Basic Dungeons and Dragons, and in the first and second editions of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, a character class dedicated to the art of stealth. Their larcenous abilities were (in all these editions of the game) characterised as a set of percentile scores, much like character skills in Call of Cthulhu. Initially, these scores were fixed by a big, scary table, but by the time of Second Edition it was allowable to vary them by alloting points from a pool. Thieves also traditionally required the least XP to advance levels.

In Basic, where the names of the classes and alignments were a semantic minefield, there were no alignment restrictions on thieves, but it was left unclear as to whether a thief had to, er, thieve. In later editions, thieves have had to avoid certain alignments - notably Lawful Good. In First Edition there was also a thief-acrobat class, introduced in Unearthed Arcana and of doubtful value. In Second Edition, Thieves were part of the Rogue class group. In the new Third Edition, the Thief class has been renamed Rogue.

Thief was an old arcade game released by Pacific Novelty way back in 1981.

The story

Thief was not a new idea, it was a simple automotive maze game, but is memorable for having some truly horrible graphics. The kind of graphics that are so bad that you can tell a lot of effort was put into them. This was actually a common problem with a lot of lesser known early 80s arcade titles. The programmers would try and push the limits of their hardware, and end up with a true monstrousity.

The game is still fun, despite the "crashed Nintendo" look of the background scenes and explosions.

The game

This title plays a lot like Pac-Man, except the maze is more detailed. You drive you car around the maze (which of course has nothing but right angles), picking up the money that is laying around everywhere (just like the dots in Pac-Man). Now to avoid being any more like Pac-Man, the designer decided to give you four enemies, who each move around the maze with a distinct personality (but they are cars,not ghosts). In a final attempt to make this game different from Pac-man, th designer then added dollar signs in each corner of the screen, running over these allows you to chase after your foes, and run over them (not at all like Pac-Man). In later levels these dollar signs may be in places other than the corners (finally, something that actually is different than Pac-Man).

Each level is finished by clearing all the dollars bills from the board (the game will also rate you with a new "Crime Level" everytime you complete a screen).

The Machine

Thief machines are of an interesting design. They are bright red, and have a very "top heavy" look to them, this is due to the laid back monitor, and oversized marquee. These machines have a simple "Thief" logo as sideart (it is a sticker), and use chrome t-molding. The oversized marquee is yellow, and has an image of a 1920s paddy wagon, and a prisoner wearing a classic black and white striped prison suit (were those ever actually worn anywhere?). The control panel overlay and monitor bezel are yellow as well, and are covered in similar images to the one on the marquee. The control panel itself has only a 4-Way joystick with a red ball on top (nothing at all like Pac-Man, which uses a 4-Way joystick with a red ball on top), and start buttons for each player located on the right side of the panel (just like Pac-Man).

The game itself runs on a Z80 processor, and uses a unique wiring harness that is not compatible with any other games (not even Pac-Man). The machine also has a cassette player mounted inside that plays a four minute loop tape of actual police radio announcements from many years ago. These tapes are usually worn out today, but luckily you can simply download a .wav file of the audio, and record a new one.

Where to play

Knock off versions of this game were made for most of the early console systems (under various titles), but there were not any official ports that I am aware of. You can also play this title under MAME, it is perfect, except for the background talking, which resets every time you die (that is a problem with MAME itself, not the driver for this game).

You may want to add this game to your arcade game collection. It is certainly a nice example of a fun (if unoriginal), early game. Be sure and inspect the cassette playe carefully, as they are prone to breaking.


You are a thief and a murderer, you have killed a baboon and stole his face ; vulgar abuse.
thief in a candle

Part of the wick or snuff, which falling on the tallow, burns and melts it, and causing it to gutter, thus steals it away.
thief takers

Fellows who associate with all kinds of villains, in order to betray them, when they have committed any of those crimes which entitle the persons taking them to a handsome reward, called blood money. It is the business of these thief takers to furnish subjects for a handsome execution, at the end of every sessions.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Truth is an emerald
looking in the eyes
deep shadow glimmering
reflection, nighttime

northern light
in the river
see the past and
future, flickering;
wondering narrow path

Glowing white
light in the waters,

Thief (?), n.; pl. Thieves (#). [OE. thef, theef, AS. eof; akin to OFries. thiaf, OS. theof, thiof, D. dief, G. dieb, OHG. diob, Icel. jofr, Sw. tjuf, Dan. tyv, Goth. iufs, iubs, and perhaps to Lith. tupeti to squat or crouch down. Cf. Theft.]


One who steals; one who commits theft or larceny. See Theft.

There came a privy thief, men clepeth death. Chaucer.

Where thieves break through and steal. Matt. vi. 19.


A waster in the snuff of a candle.

Bp. Hall.

Thief catcher. Same as Thief taker. -- Thief leader, one who leads or takes away a thief. L'Estrange. -- Thief taker, one whose business is to find and capture thieves and bring them to justice. -- Thief tube, a tube for withdrawing a sample of a liquid from a cask. -- Thieves' vinegar, a kind of aromatic vinegar for the sick room, taking its name from the story that thieves, by using it, were enabled to plunder, with impunity to health, in the great plague at London. [Eng.]

Syn. -- Robber; pilferer. -- Thief, Robber. A thief takes our property by stealth; a robber attacks us openly, and strips us by main force.

Take heed, have open eye, for thieves do foot by night. Shak.

Some roving robber calling to his fellows. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.