• noun an ironic or jocular combining word, added to suggest a desperate or reprehensible character or, in police jargon, literally a criminal. In his Field Manual for Police (1977) David Powis cites ‘milk bandit’ as an ironic term for penniless milk-bottle thieves; ‘gas-meter bandit’ is self-explanatory.
  • verb to steal or borrow without permission. The term was recorded in Trinidad and Tobago in 2003. Synonyms are raf and sprang.

Origin & History of “bandit”

Etymologically, a bandit is someone who has been ‘banished’ or outlawed. The word was borrowed from Italian bandito, which was a nominal use of the past participle of the verb bandire ‘ban’. The source of this was vulgar Latin *bannīre, which was formed from the borrowed Germanic base *bann- ‘proclaim’ (from which English gets ban). Meanwhile, in Old French, bannīre had produced banir, whose lengthened stem form baniss- gave English banish (14th c.).