Searching a meaning of a Japanese word okibiki. I have found a definition:

walking away with another's bag

But you can call someone a okibiki. Analyzing it, the person is a bag thief. Then in English, there is another single word to define it?

If not, is usual to say "bag thief"?

2 Answers 2


The only more-or-less common English expressions that come close to it in meaning I can think of are all two words (though they could be hyphenated):

bag-snatcher, purse-snatcher, and perhaps (if they're only taking a wallet) wallet-lifter -- and that one's quite a bit rarer in usage (and pickpocket would probably be more common for that case).

There's the archaic cutpurse, but that doesn't quite fit.

While "bag-thief" is clear enough, bag-snatcher is probably more idiomatic.

  • +1 for 'snatcher', we can use it for the things we carry with us. Chain snatcher, for instance.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 4:30
  • 2
    "purse-snatcher" is more common in AmE (since 1940) books.google.com/ngrams/… Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 5:25
  • @Brian a purse is more specific than a bag, so even if purse-snatcher were more common that doesn't necessarily make it more apt. It might be a gym bag that was stolen, for example, and in that case, purse-snatcher would be wrong.
    – Glen_b
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 6:21
  • But wrong or not, Americans might call the thief a purse-snatcher. If bags are more commonly grabbed now than they were in 1940, or even equally often, how do you explain the increasing predominance of "purse-snatcher" since 1940 in AmE? Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 6:26
  • @BrianHitchcock Better not to ask me to explain the choices Americans make. That makes not the slightest sense to me, I appreciate your valuable input though -- it's worth knowing it's more common in American English even when the object isn't a purse (as odd as that might seem to other English-speakers).
    – Glen_b
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 6:27

A word with a meaning close to what you're looking for does exist, but in my experience it's not used in the literal sense very often:

From Etymonline:

cutpurse (n.) "one who steals by the method of cutting purses, a common practice when men wore their purses at their girdles" [Johnson], mid-14c., from cut (v.) + purse (n.). The word continued after the method switched to picking pockets.

Bag thief is easily understood, but redundant and not idiomatic in all situations. For instance, you would not say:

A bag thief stole my pack.

But rather just:

A thief stole my pack.

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