To Filch. v.a. [A word of uncertain etymology. The French word filer, from which some derive it, is of very late production, and therefore cannot be its original.] To steal; to take by theft; to pilfer; to pillage; to rob; to take by robbery. It is usually spoken of petty thefts.
He shall find his wealth wonderfully enlarged by keeping his cattle in inclosures, where they shall always have safe being, that none are continually filched and stolen. Spenser.
The champion robbeth by night,
And prowleth and filcheth by daie. Tusser's Husbandry.
Who steals my purse, steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed. Shakespeare's Othello.
His thefts were too open; his filching was like an unskillful singer, he kept no time. Shakes. Merry Wives of Windsor.
He could discern cities like hives of bees, wherein every bee did nought else but sting; some like hornets, some like filching wasps, others as drones. Burton on Melancholy.
What made thee venture to betray,
And filch the lady's heart away. Hudibras, p. iii. cant. 1.
The pismire was formerly a husbandman, that secretly filched away his neighbour's goods. L'Estrange's Fables.
Fain would they filch that little food away,
While unrestraine'd those happy gluttons prey. Dryden.
So speeds the wily fox, alarm'd by fear,
Who lately filch'd the turkey's callow care. Gay's Trivia.