[verb kon-fuh-skeyt; adjective kuh n-fis-kit]
See more synonyms for confiscate 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

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 formscon·fis·cat·a·ble, adjectivecon·fis·ca·tion, nouncon·fis·ca·tor, nounnon·con·fis·ca·tion, nounpro·con·fis·ca·tion, adjectivere·con·fis·cate, verb (used with object), re·con·fis·cat·ed, re·con·fis·cat·ing.un·con·fis·cat·ed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for confiscate


verb (tr)
  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
Derived Formsconfiscation, 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

Word Origin and History for confiscate

1550s, originally, "to appropriate for the treasury," from Latin confiscatus, past participle of confiscare, from com- "together" (see com-) + fiscus "public treasury," literally "money basket" (see fiscal). Related: Confiscated; confiscating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper