I heard the following on 'The Office' in episode Downsize (#1.1):

David Brent: I'm going to have to let you go first.

Dawn: What? Why?

David Brent: Why? Stealing. Thieving.

Dawn: Thieving? What am I meant to have stolen?

David Brent: Post-It notes.

What does the 'what am I meant' part mean here? Is it a common expression used in BrE or AmE? Cant we simply say: What have I stolen? What might have I stolen?

  • Without more context it is impossible to determine which of at least 2 possible meanings this is meant to convey. 1) This could be a question asking about things the speaker was supposed or destined to have illegally taken from somebody in the past. Or 2) What items that the speakers owns are destined to be taken from him sometime in the future.
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 4:10
  • @Jim- Included the whole conversation.
    – Noah
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 4:48
  • Ahh, yes then it is just as aaamos says, "What am I alleged to have stolen?" / "What are you accusing me of stealing?"
    – Jim
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 4:53

1 Answer 1


It means the same as "What am I alleged to have stolen?", where the emphasis is deliberately placed to make the listener aware that one is not conceding the point that one has, in fact, stolen anything.

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