[uh-proh-pree-ey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for appropriation on
  1. the act of appropriating.
  2. anything appropriated for a special purpose, especially money.
  3. an act of a legislature authorizing money to be paid from the treasury for a specified use.
  4. the money thus authorized: a large appropriation for aid to libraries.

Origin of appropriation

1325–75; Middle English (< Middle French) < Late Latin appropriātiōn- (stem of appropriātiō). See appropriate, -ion
Related formspro·ap·pro·pri·a·tion, adjectivere·ap·pro·pri·a·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for appropriation

Contemporary Examples of appropriation

Historical Examples of appropriation

British Dictionary definitions for appropriation


  1. the act of setting apart or taking for one's own use
  2. a sum of money set apart for a specific purpose, esp by a legislature
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 appropriation

late 14c., "taking (something) as private property," from Late Latin appropriationem (nominative appropriatio) "a making one's own," noun of action from past participle stem of appropriare (see appropriate). Meaning "setting aside for some purpose" (especially of money) first attested 1789 in U.S. Constitution.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

appropriation in Culture


The grant of money by a legislature for some specific purpose. The authority to grant appropriations, popularly known as the power of the purse, gives legislatures a powerful check over executive branches and judicial branches, for no public money can be spent without legislative approval. Congress, for example, can approve or reject the annual budget requests of the executive branch for its agencies and programs, thereby influencing both domestic and foreign policy. (See also checks and balances and pork-barrel legislation.)

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