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Word of the Week

peculation, n. ‘ The appropriation of money or property held in trust for another by a servant, employee, or official; esp. the embezzlement of public funds belonging to a ruler, state, or government. Also: an instance of this.’
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌpɛkjᵿˈleɪʃn/, U.S. /ˌpɛkjəˈleɪʃ(ə)n/
Etymology: < post-classical Latin peculatio embezzlement of public money or property (5th cent.) < classical Latin pecūlārī peculate v. + -ātio -ation suffix. Compare earlier peculate n., and later peculate v.
Somewhat formal in later use. The appropriation of money or property held in trust for another by a servant, employee, or official; esp. the embezzlement of public funds belonging to a ruler, state, or government. Also: an instance of this.1658 E. Phillips New World Eng. Words, Peculation, a robbing of the Prince or Common-wealth.
1732 Gentleman’s Mag. Dec. 1094/2 Do they punish Bribery and Peculation in their own Creatures and Friends?
1779 J. Watt Let. 3 Mar. in Partners in Sci. (1970) 56 The person in Office there has either been guilty of peculation or of gross neglect of duty.
1844 U.S. Mag. & Democratic Rev. Mar. 238 [He] had just forwarded to the Committee written proof of peculations committed by Fouché de Nantes.
1874 J. R. Green Short Hist. Eng. People ix. §9. 700 Marlborough was dismissed from his command, charged with peculation, and condemned.
1950 New Yorker 30 Sept. 32/2 Mrs. Elkin’s voice dropped to the low, gemütlich whisper reserved for obstetrics, cancer, and the peculations of servant girls.
1994 Daily Tel. 28 Nov. 22/1 It would no longer tolerate a form of politics that favoured politicians above people and peculation above principles.

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