I first assumed that “burglar”, which appears 37 times in The Hobbit, had been formed from “burgle”, but I was incorrect.  “Burgle” was back-formed from the older word “burglar”, both of which are outside of the Ten Thousand.  OED, bless them, defines “burgle” thusly:

to steal or rob burglariously.

Well, now we’re happy!  “Burglarious”  and its adverb “burglariously” are outside the Hundred Thousand, attested since the 1700s.  I take pleasure in noting that a word outside the hundred thousand most common words in Project Gutenberg is still not called “rare” by OED.

Is “burglar” funny?  It certainly has a funny sound and is awfully… anti-heroic.

[01.116]  ‘That would be no good,’ said the wizard, ‘not without a mighty Warrior, even a Hero. I tried to find one; but warriors are busy fighting one another in distant lands, and in this neighbourhood heroes are scarce, or simply not to be found. Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers; and dragons are comfortably far-off (and therefore legendary). That is why I settled on burglary –

  • 01.095 He looks more like a grocer than a burglar!’
  • 01.097 or your reference to burglars,
  • 01.098 Burglar wants a good job,
  • 01.098 You can say Expert Treasure-hunter instead of Burglar if you like.
  • 01.100 If I say he is a Burglar,
  • 01.100 a Burglar he is,
  • 01.117 That is why I settled on burglary –
  • 01.117 the burglar,
  • 01.117 and selected burglar.
  • 01.141 Aren’t you the burglar?
  • 02.009 “Thorin and Company to Burglar Bilbo greeting!
  • 02.029 “Bother burgling
  • 02.039 “After all we have got a burglar with us,” they said;
  • 02.041 “Now it is the burglar’s turn,” they said,
  • 02.047 a bit of good quick burgling.
  • 02.047 and legendary burglar would
  • 02.048 Of the various burglarious proceedings he had heard of
  • 06.012 without the burglar,
  • 06.013 And here’s the burglar!’
  • 06.014 If they had still doubted that he was really a first-class burglar,
  • 06.054 You’ve left the burglar behind again!’
  • 06.055 I can’t be always carrying burglars on my back,’
  • 09.012 I am like a burglar that can’t get away,
  • 09.012 burgling the same house
  • 09.031 A pretty fine burglar you make,
  • 09.051 and have to stay lurking as a permanent burglar
  • 10.041 and he strongly suspected attempted burglary
  • 11.026 What is our burglar doing for us?
  • 12.017 More like a grocer than a burglar’ indeed!
  • 12.035 What else do you suppose a burglar is to do?’
  • 12.035 You ought to have brought five hundred burglars not one.
  • 12.078 and so do burglars,’
  • 13.017 Mr. Baggins was still officially their expert burglar
  • 13.021 Now I am a burglar indeed!’
  • 13.029 and help our burglar.’
  • 16.039 I may be a burglar –
  • 17.014 burglar!’
  • 17.016 If you don’t like my Burglar,
  • 18.048 I mean even a burglar has his feelings.

“burglarious, adj.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

“burgle, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 1 June 2015.

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