English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

By forming a noun from a verb, the person that steals is called a stealer. What do you call a person that is being stolen from?

Is there a corresponding noun that denotes the object of this action, as there is for verbs like employ (employer, employee), call (caller, callee), etc.?

share|improve this question
Note that stealer is not as common as thief, robber, or burglar although it is a valid word. – Mark Beadles Aug 29 '12 at 19:35
up vote 9 down vote accepted

There is no such single noun that I am aware of. We might say the one stolen from or the victim.

Colloquially you could find terms like the mark or the patsy but I would not recommend using them except under restricted circumstances and informal usage.

share|improve this answer
Under restricted circumstances. Do you mean in prison? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 '12 at 20:19
I think "mark" and "patsy" are more commonly used for the victim of a fraud than a simple theft. "Victim" is an appropriate word, but a victim can be the target of any crime, from trespassing to murder, so you'd have to make clear what the crime is in context. – Jay Aug 29 '12 at 20:50
@Jay I am just glad I did not marry a girl named Patsy, or would we be in for some bad luck. – Mark Beadles Aug 29 '12 at 20:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.