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peculate

[pek-yuh-leyt]
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verb (used with or without object), pec·u·lat·ed, pec·u·lat·ing.
  1. to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one's care); embezzle.

Origin of peculate

1740–50; v. use of peculate embezzlement (now obsolete) < Latin pecūlātus, equivalent to pecūlā(rī) to embezzle, literally, to make public property private + -tus suffix of v. action. See peculiar, -ate1
Related formspec·u·la·tion, nounpec·u·la·tor, nounun·pec·u·lat·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for peculation

peculate

verb
  1. to appropriate or embezzle (public money)
Derived Formspeculation, nounpeculator, noun

Word Origin

C18: from Latin pecūlārī, from pecūlium private property (originally, cattle); see peculiar
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

Word Origin and History for peculation

n.

1650s, noun of action from Latin peculari (see peculate).

peculate

v.

1749, from Latin peculatus, past participle of peculari "to embezzle," from peculum "private property," originally "cattle" (see peculiar). Related: Peculated; peculating; peculator.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper