AskDefine | Define peculation

Dictionary Definition

peculation n : the fraudulent appropriation of funds or property entrusted to your care but actually owned by someone else [syn: embezzlement, defalcation, misapplication, misappropriation]

User Contributed Dictionary



Latin, from peculat-, past participle stem of peculari, related to peculium ‘property in cattle, private property’, from pecu ‘cattle, money’.


  • /pɛkjʊ'leɪʃən/


  1. The wrongful appropriation of shared or public property, especially by a person entrusted with the guardianship of that property
  2. In the law, embezzlement of public or government property
    • 1989: She considered herself engaged to be married to a Scotch propaganda officer who had been dismissed for peculation and gone home to sell cars. — Anthony Burgess, The Devil's Mode
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