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peculate

[pek-yuh-leyt]
verb (used with or without object), pec·u·lat·ed, pec·u·lat·ing.
  1. to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one's care); embezzle.
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Origin of peculate

1740–50; v. use of peculate embezzlement (now obsolete) < Latin pecūlātus, equivalent to pecūlā(rī) to embezzle, literally, to make public property private + -tus suffix of v. action. See peculiar, -ate1
Related formspec·u·la·tion, nounpec·u·la·tor, nounun·pec·u·lat·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for peculator

Historical Examples of peculator

  • The man who was not a sinecurist or a peculator was pretty sure to be a profligate or a gambler.

    Modern Leaders: Being a Series of Biographical Sketches

    Justin McCarthy

  • As Finlay points out in his thoughtful history of Greece, Belisarius must have been a peculator on a large and dangerous scale.

    Gibbon

    James Cotter Morison

  • The Emperor had understood perfectly that his information was correct and that the principal inspector was a peculator.

    The Death of the Gods

    Dmitri Mrejkowski


British Dictionary definitions for peculator

peculate

verb
  1. to appropriate or embezzle (public money)
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Derived Formspeculation, 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

Word Origin and History for peculator

peculate

v.

1749, from Latin peculatus, past participle of peculari "to embezzle," from peculum "private property," originally "cattle" (see peculiar). Related: Peculated; peculating; peculator.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper