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[pek-yuh-leyt] /ˈpɛk yəˌleɪt/
verb (used with or without object), peculated, peculating.
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 forms
peculation, noun
peculator, noun
unpeculating, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for peculator
Historical Examples
  • The man who was not a sinecurist or a peculator was pretty sure to be a profligate or a gambler.

  • As Finlay points out in his thoughtful history of Greece, Belisarius must have been a peculator on a large and dangerous scale.


    James Cotter Morison
  • The Emperor had understood perfectly that his information was correct and that the principal inspector was a peculator.

    The Death of the Gods Dmitri Mrejkowski
British Dictionary definitions for peculator


to appropriate or embezzle (public money)
Derived Forms
peculation, noun
peculator, 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
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Word Origin and History for peculator



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
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