Saturday, March 7, 2009

Words for our times

defalcate \di-FAL-keyt\, verb:

to steal or misuse money or property entrusted to one's care

The stockbroker defalcated millions from investment clients.
c 1540, from Latin defalcere, from de- + falx/falcem "sickle, scythe"

peculate \PEK-yuh-leyt\, verb:

to steal money or goods entrusted to one; embezzle

Not surprisingly, they use their positions to demand bribes and peculate public funds.
-- Christian Parenti, Taliban Rising, The Nation, December 10, 2006
by 1715, from Latin peculatus/ peculari "to embezzle," from peculum "private property"


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