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Pickpocketer vs. Pickpocket: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 22, 2024
A "pickpocketer" refers to someone who engages in pickpocketing, while "pickpocket" is the more commonly used term for a person who steals from pockets.

Key Differences

A "pickpocketer" is an informal and less common term used to describe someone who engages in the act of pickpocketing, the practice of stealing items from people's pockets or bags. "Pickpocket," on the other hand, is the standard and widely recognized term for a person who steals from others' pockets. This term is more commonly used in both everyday language and legal contexts.
When you refer to a "pickpocketer," it sounds more like a descriptor or label for someone involved in the activity, but it is not the preferred term. "Pickpocket" clearly identifies someone who commits the crime of stealing items from pockets, making it the preferred and more precise term.
Pickpocketer might occasionally appear in colloquial speech, but it lacks the acceptance and frequency of use found with "pickpocket." In literature and media, "pickpocket" is almost exclusively used to describe such thieves, reinforcing its dominance over the less common "pickpocketer."
"Pickpocket" succinctly conveys the identity and action of the thief, while "pickpocketer" feels more awkward and less direct.

Comparison Chart


Someone who engages in pickpocketing
A person who steals from people's pockets

Common Usage

Less common, informal
Standard, widely recognized


Less clear, sounds awkward
Clear, precise


Informal speech
Everyday language, legal contexts


Rarely used
Commonly used

Pickpocketer and Pickpocket Definitions


A person who engages in pickpocketing.
The authorities apprehended a notorious pickpocketer at the fair.


A thief specializing in stealing from pockets.
She felt a slight tug and realized a pickpocket had taken her wallet.


An informal term for someone who steals from pockets.
Beware of pickpocketers in crowded areas.


Someone who stealthily steals items from people in public places.
Pickpockets often work in crowded train stations.


A thief who targets pockets and bags.
The market was known for its skilled pickpocketers.


A criminal who targets unsuspecting individuals' belongings.
The pickpocket swiftly took the phone without being noticed.


Someone involved in the act of stealing from pockets.
Tourists are often warned about pickpocketers.


A person who steals from others' pockets or bags.
The pickpocket was caught in the act by the undercover officer.


A less common synonym for pickpocket.
Street performers sometimes attract pickpocketers.


A common term for a person engaged in pocket theft.
Pickpockets usually operate in busy tourist spots.


A pickpocket.


One who steals from pockets.


One who steals from the pocket of a passerby, usually by sleight of hand.


To pick pockets; to steal.


One who steals purses or other articles from pockets.


A thief who steals from the pockets or purses of others in public places


Is "pickpocketer" a common term?

No, "pickpocketer" is less common and informal compared to "pickpocket."

What is a pickpocketer?

A pickpocketer is an informal term for someone who engages in pickpocketing.

Which term is more precise?

"Pickpocket" is more precise and commonly used.

Is "pickpocket" used in legal contexts?

Yes, "pickpocket" is the term typically used in legal and formal contexts.

What is a pickpocket?

A pickpocket is a person who steals items from others' pockets or bags.

Do "pickpocketer" and "pickpocket" mean the same thing?

Yes, they refer to the same type of thief, though "pickpocket" is more standard.

Are pickpocketers only found in crowded areas?

While common in crowded areas, pickpockets can operate anywhere.

Is "pickpocket" an older term than "pickpocketer"?

Yes, "pickpocket" has been in use longer and is more established.

Can both terms be used interchangeably?

Yes, but "pickpocket" is preferred for clarity and common usage.

Is there a plural form for both terms?

Yes, "pickpockets" and "pickpocketers" are the plural forms.

Are there famous historical pickpockets?

Yes, history has noted several infamous pickpockets, especially in urban areas.

Are there other terms similar to "pickpocket"?

Terms like "thief" and "stealth thief" can be related but are broader.

Do pickpockets work alone or in groups?

They can work alone or in groups, often using distraction techniques.

Can "pickpocket" be used as a verb?

Yes, "to pickpocket" means to steal from someone's pocket.

Can pickpocketing be a form of organized crime?

Yes, organized crime groups sometimes engage in pickpocketing.

Is "pickpocketer" considered incorrect?

No, it's not incorrect but is less formal and less commonly used.

How do pickpockets typically operate?

Pickpockets often work in busy areas, using stealth to steal without being noticed.

Is there a gender-specific term for pickpocket?

No, "pickpocket" is gender-neutral.

Why is "pickpocket" preferred over "pickpocketer"?

"Pickpocket" is preferred due to its clarity, precision, and common usage.

What precautions can prevent pickpocketing?

Being vigilant, using secure bags, and avoiding distractions can help prevent pickpocketing.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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