[ verb kon-fuh-skeyt; adjective kuh n-fis-kit ]
/ verb ˈkɒn fəˌskeɪt; adjective kənˈfɪs kɪt /

verb (used with object), con·fis·cat·ed, con·fis·cat·ing.

to seize as forfeited to the public domain; appropriate, by way of penalty, for public use.
to seize by or as if by authority; appropriate summarily: The border guards confiscated our movie cameras.


seized or appropriated, as for public use.

Origin of confiscate

1525–35; < Latin confiscātus (past participle of confiscāre to seize for the public treasury), equivalent to con- con- + fisc(us) basket, moneybag, public treasury (see fiscal) + -ātus -ate1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for confiscate


/ (ˈkɒnfɪˌskeɪt) /

verb (tr)

to seize (property), esp for public use and esp by way of a penalty


seized or confiscated; forfeit
having lost or been deprived of property through confiscation

Derived Forms

confiscation, nounconfiscator, noun

Word Origin for confiscate

C16: from Latin confiscāre to seize for the public treasury, from fiscus basket, treasury
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