kleptomania (klĕpˌtəmāˈnēə) [Gr.,=craze for stealing], irresistible compulsion to steal, motivated by neurotic impulse rather than material need. No specific cause is known. The condition is considered generally as the result of some underlying emotional disturbance rather than as a form of neurosis in itself. Legally kleptomania is not classified as insanity, and individuals are held responsible except when complete lack of control over their actions can be definitely established.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.
an irresistible periodic pathological urge to steal.
Kleptomonia is a symptom of psychological disturbance that is attributable to impulsive tendencies. It is seen most often in persons suffering from psychological disturbances and psychopathy. There is no mercenary motivation in kleptomania; the stolen goods are not, as a rule, sold for profit. Kleptomania is eliminated by treating the primary condition.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
An obsessive desire to steal; stolen objects are usually petty and useless, being of symbolic value only.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Psychol a strong impulse to steal, esp when there is no obvious motivation
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005