to steal or take
dishonestly (money, esp. public funds, or property entrusted to
one's care); embezzle.
[1740–50; v. use of
peculate embezzlement (now obs.) < L pecūlātus,
equiv. to pecūlā(rī)
to embezzle, lit., to make public property private + -tus
suffix of v. action. See
House Webster's Unabridged).
worked at the bank Claire thought she could get away with pilfering
small sums by altering computer records, but her peculation
landed her in jail. ——
He instituted the memorable commission of naval enquiry, a measure
which drew upon him the hatred and opposition of a host of placemen
and pensioners, but which, eminently characteristic of his own purity,
integrity, and love of economy, was admirably calculated to detect
and prevent fraud, peculation and profusion in the administration
of the finances of the country. ——
John Jervis, Earl St Vincent;
A British Military Hero, From Stone; BBC; 2002
There is no space here to enumerate them.--The Civil Service of India is reasonably
efficient, and to a gratifying degree free from peculation and corruption. But
the government is as complete a bureaucracy as that of Russia. Indeed it is no
exaggeration to say that, as a bureaucracy, it is as autocratic, as arbitrary in its methods, as reactionary in its spirit, as far
removed from sympathy with the people, as determined to keep all power in its
own hands, as unwilling to consult the popular wishes, or to listen to the
voice of the most enlightened portion of the nation, even when expressed
through the great and widely representative Indian National Congress, as is the
Russian bureaucracy. Proof of this can be furnished to any amount.
Jabez T. Sunderland;
The New Nationalist Movement in India;
The Atlantic; Oct 1908
Did you know? (Merriam-Webster)
"Peculation" derives ultimately from Latin "peculatus," meaning
"misappropriation of public property," and "peculator," meaning
"embezzler." Both belong to a family of Latin words having to do with
property and possession. The most basic members of the family are "pecu"
("herd, flock") and "pecus" ("livestock"), animals being a fundamental
form of wealth in rural society. Other members of the family include "pecunia"
("wealth, money"), which gave English "pecuniary" ("monetary"), and "peculiaris"
("one’s own, private, special"), which lead to our "peculiar."
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