[ pek-yuh-leyt ]
/ ˈpɛk yəˌleɪt /

verb (used with or without object), pec·u·lat·ed, pec·u·lat·ing.

to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one's care); embezzle.

Origin of peculate

First recorded in 1740–50; verb use of peculate “embezzlement” (now obsolete), from Latin past participle and noun pecūlātus “embezzled; embezzlement,” equivalent to pecūlā(rī) ) “to embezzle,” literally, “to make public property private” + -tus suffix of verbal action, derivative of pecu “wealth, livestock, movable property”; see origin at peculiar, -ate1


pec·u·la·tion, nounpec·u·la·tor, nounun·pec·u·lat·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for peculate

British Dictionary definitions for peculate

/ (ˈpɛkjʊˌleɪt) /


to appropriate or embezzle (public money)

Derived forms of peculate

peculation, nounpeculator, noun

Word Origin for peculate

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