Is the word heist [robbery] slang in American English? It is commonly used in our newspapers' headings, articles, etc. Could you please give your take on the word? Would you use it in formal writing?




I thought the heyday of "heist" was over in the 1930s, but apparently it is still being used. I take it to be 'gangster slang', and I would not use it in formal writing. I don't even use it in informal writing or speech. I can't imagine hearing it on a news broadcast these days.

The same applies to the near-synonym "caper".


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I disagree with the answer given. In the US "heist" might be heard in connection with a big, or high-profile, robbery., like a robbery at a major jeweler or an armored car company, in which the robbers showed daring, and got away cleanly. The word "heist" would imply a certain dashing quality, and mystery.

The word "caper" might also be heard, if the robbery, or the robbers, displayed a certain amusing quality.

Thanks, CJ.

I am sure heist sounds very odd to you here (as a newspaper heading)?


Dawn is the name of our English newspaper.


Mr. TomI am sure heist sounds very odd to you here

No. Headlines are usually more colorful than the articles they head. That's to attract the reader's attention.

COCA found more than 500 instances of "heist", so it may be used more than I thought.


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