kleptomania (n.) 1830, formed from MANIA (Cf. mania) + Gk. kleptes "thief," from kleptein "to steal, act secretly," from PIE *klep- "to steal," an extention of root *kel- "to cover, conceal" (see CELL (Cf. cell); Cf. L. clepere "to steal, listen secretly to," O.Pruss. au-klipts "hidden," O.C.S. poklopu "cover, wrapping," Goth. hlifan "to steal," hliftus "thief"). Much-derided 19c. as a fancy term for old-fashioned thievery and an opportunity for the privileged to claim a psychological motive for criminal misbehavior.
There is a popular belief that some of the criminal laws under which the poor are rigorously punished are susceptible of remarkable elasticity when the peccadilloes of the rich are brought under judgment, and that there is some truth in the old adage which declares that "one man may steal a horse where another dare not look over the hedge." This unwholesome distrust is not likely to diminish if, in cases of criminal prosecutions where so-called respectable persons commit theft without sufficiently obvious motive for the act, they have their crime extenuated on the plea of kleptomania, as has recently occurred in several notable instances. ["Kleptomania," "The Lancet," Nov. 16, 1861]

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • Kleptomania — Klep to*ma ni*a, n. [Gr. kle pths thief + E. mania.] A propensity to steal, claimed to be irresistible. This does not constitute legal irresponsibility. Wharton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • kleptomania — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 7}}[wym. kleptomańja] {{/stl 7}}{{stl 8}}rz. ż IIb, blm {{/stl 8}}{{stl 7}} chorobliwa skłonność do kradzieży różnych, zwykle drobnych przedmiotów, dokonywanej pod wpływem nieodpartego impulsu <gr.> {{/stl 7}} …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • kleptomania — ► NOUN ▪ a recurrent urge to steal. DERIVATIVES kleptomaniac noun & adjective. ORIGIN from Greek klept s thief …   English terms dictionary

  • kleptomania — [klep΄tō mā′nē ə, klep΄təmā′nē ə] n. [ModL < Gr kleptēs, thief (< IE base * klep , to hide, steal > L clepere, Goth hlifan, to steal) + MANIA] an abnormal, persistent impulse or tendency to steal, not prompted by need kleptomaniac n.,… …   English World dictionary

  • Kleptomania — For other uses, see Kleptomania (disambiguation). Kleptomania Classification and external resources ICD 10 F63.2 ICD 9 …   Wikipedia

  • kleptomania — /klep teuh may nee euh, mayn yeuh/, n. Psychol. an irresistible impulse to steal, stemming from emotional disturbance rather than economic need. Also, cleptomania. [1820 30; klepto (comb. form of Gk kléptes thief) + MANIA] * * * ▪ mental disorder …   Universalium

  • kleptomania — noun Etymology: New Latin Date: 1830 a persistent neurotic impulse to steal especially without economic motive …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • kleptomania — noun /ˌklɛptəˈmeɪniə, ˈmeɪnjə/ a psychological disorder that causes an obsession with stealing without material need See Also: kleptomaniac, kleptomaniacal …   Wiktionary

  • kleptomania — A disorder of impulse control characterized by a morbid tendency to steal. [G. klepto, to steal, + mania, insanity] * * * klep·to·ma·nia .klep tə mā nē ə, nyə n a persistent neurotic impulse to steal esp. without economic motive * * * n. a… …   Medical dictionary

  • kleptomania — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. compulsion to steal, thievishness, light fingeredness; see neurosis , theft …   English dictionary for students

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