[ verb kon-fuh-skeyt; adjective kuhn-fis-kit ]
See synonyms for: confiscateconfiscatedconfiscation on

verb (used with object),con·fis·cat·ed, con·fis·cat·ing.
  1. to seize as forfeited to the public domain; appropriate, by way of penalty, for public use.

  2. to seize by or as if by authority; appropriate summarily: The border guards confiscated our movie cameras.

  1. seized or appropriated, as for public use.

Origin of confiscate

First recorded in 1525–35; from Latin confiscātus “seized,” past participle of confiscāre “to seize for the public treasury,” equivalent to con- con- + fisc(us) “basket, moneybag, public treasury” (see fiscal) + -āre, verb infinitive suffix

Other words from confiscate

  • con·fis·cat·a·ble, adjective
  • con·fis·ca·tion [kon-fuh-skey-shuhn], /ˌkɒn fəˈskeɪ ʃən/, noun
  • con·fis·ca·tor, noun
  • re·con·fis·cate, verb (used with object), re·con·fis·cat·ed, re·con·fis·cat·ing.
  • un·con·fis·cat·ed, adjective

Words Nearby confiscate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use confiscate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for confiscate


/ (ˈkɒnfɪˌskeɪt) /

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

  1. seized or confiscated; forfeit

  2. having lost or been deprived of property through confiscation

Origin of confiscate

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

Derived forms of confiscate

  • confiscation, noun
  • confiscator, noun

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