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 peofie or fnefge is formed from feof, thief or peofian, 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 " one who hides himself." The O.E. stelan, to steal, appears also in other Teut. languages, cf. Du. stelen, Swed. stjdla, Goth, stillan, etc. It has been doubtfully connected with Gr. artpiiv, to deprive.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)