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WordWealth: peculate (peculation)

pec·u·late , v.t., v.i., -lat·ed, -lat·ing.

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() to embezzle, lit., to make public property private + -tus suffix of v. action. See PECULIAR, -ATE1]

pecu·lation, n.

pecu·lator, n. (Random House Webster's Unabridged). Look at Thesaurus


When she 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. —— Merriam-Webster

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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