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In law, the act of seizing property without compensation and submitting it to the public treasury. Illegal items such as narcotics or firearms, or profits from the sale of illegal items, may be confiscated by the police. Additionally, government action (e.g., zoning or rate setting) that reduces the value of property to an owner so as to make it nearly worthless has been held to constitute confiscation. See alsoeminent domain, search and seizure.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on confiscation, visit Britannica.com.