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[eks-proh-pree-eyt] /ɛksˈproʊ priˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), expropriated, expropriating.
to take possession of, especially for public use by the right of eminent domain, thus divesting the title of the private owner:
The government expropriated the land for a recreation area.
to dispossess (a person) of ownership:
The revolutionary government expropriated the landowners from their estates.
to take (something) from another's possession for one's own use:
He expropriated my ideas for his own article.
Origin of expropriate
1605-15; < Medieval Latin expropriātus separated from one's own (past participle of expropriāre), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + propri(āre) to appropriate (derivative of proprius proper) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
[eks-proh-pree-uh-buh l] /ɛksˈproʊ pri ə bəl/ (Show IPA),
expropriation, noun
expropriationist, adjective, noun
expropriator, noun
de-expropriation, noun
unexpropriable, adjective
unexpropriated, adjective
Can be confused
appropriate, apropos, expropriate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for expropriation
Historical Examples
  • Now, what we fear with regard to expropriation is exactly the contrary.

    The Conquest of Bread Peter Kropotkin
  • The expropriation of peasants is in full swing in Austria also.

    Woman and Socialism August Bebel
  • A new system of expropriation has been adopted since 1910 by the City.

    Montreal 1535-1914, Volume II (of 2)

    William Henry Atherton
  • They will destroy the State, and will urge on the people to the expropriation of the rich.

    Anarchism and Socialism

    George Plechanoff
  • expropriation can only be undertaken in the common interest and in virtue of a law.

    The New Germany George Young
  • Henceforth, the promptness of expropriation will save him from total ruin.

    What is Property? P. J. Proudhon
  • For, after all, it is interest which impoverishes the peasant and leads to his expropriation.

    What is Property? P. J. Proudhon
  • But what is the use of an expropriation, which only means one thing, if a division to all is to follow it?

    Anarchism E. V. Zenker
  • Consequently, the expropriation of the capitalists would bring no direct and pecuniary gain to the labouring classes.

    Distributive Justice

    John A. (John Augustine) Ryan
  • The expropriation commenced in 1888 and continued up to end of 1892, and the prices paid were far in excess of estimate.

British Dictionary definitions for expropriation


verb (transitive)
to deprive (an owner) of (property), esp by taking it for public use See also eminent domain
Derived Forms
expropriable, adjective
expropriation, noun
expropriator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin expropriāre to deprive of possessions, from proprius own
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expropriation

mid-15c., "renunciation of worldly goods," from Medieval Latin expropriationem (nominative expropriatio), noun of action from Late Latin expropriare "deprive of property," from ex- "away from" (see ex-) + propriare "to appropriate" (see appropriate). Sense of "a taking of someone's property," especially for public use, is from 1848; as Weekley puts it, "Current sense of organized theft appears to have arisen among Ger. socialists."



1610s, back-formation from expropriation, or from earlier adjective (mid-15c.), or from Medieval Latin expropriatus, past participle of expropriare "to deprive of one's own." Related: Expropriated; expropriating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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expropriation in Culture

expropriation definition

The taking over of private property by a government, often without fair compensation but usually with a legal assertion that the government has a right to do so.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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