ap·​pro·​pri·​a·​tion | \ ə-ˌprō-prē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce appropriation (audio) \

Definition of appropriation

1 : an act or instance of appropriating something
2 : something that has been appropriated specifically : money set aside by formal action for a specific use the city's appropriation for schools

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Other Words from appropriation

appropriative \ -​ˈprō-​prē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce appropriative (audio) \ adjective

Examples of appropriation in a Sentence

the appropriation of funds to repair the bridge The economy has been weakened by the appropriation of the country's resources by corrupt officials.

Recent Examples on the Web

Northwest Indiana railroad crossings that cause traffic delays and safety hazards could get some attention from a federal appropriations bill that passed a U.S. House of Representatives committee this week. Tim Zorn, Post-Tribune, "House committee adds funding for rail crossings in 2020 proposed budget," 5 June 2019 The appropriations bill, which was approved 29 to 21, will move to the House floor for a vote. Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post, "The pork industry wants a new inspection system. House Democrats are balking.," 4 June 2019 Earmarks in the early 2000s were a hardy perennial in appropriations bills, from defense to transportation. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Stick a Fork in Senate Pork," 23 May 2019 Most of these white women have significant Instagram followings, and most of them feel immune to criticisms of cultural appropriation—at least until a controversial Twitter thread called them out last week. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 Some accused Madonna, in her spiky silver headpiece, heavy necklaces and beaded bracelets, of cultural appropriation. Leanne Italie, The Seattle Times, "Madonna’s rambling Aretha Franklin tribute earns backlash," 21 Aug. 2018 The picture has already drawn 1.4 million likes and almost 17,000 comments, and much of the online conversation surrounding the Greatest Showman actor’s hair seems to be focused on the issue of cultural appropriation. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Zac Efron's New Dreadlocks Spark Twitter Debate: Is It 'Cultural Appropriation' or Just a Hairstyle?," 6 July 2018 But what happens when imitation appears to cross over into cultural appropriation and exploitation? Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Some White Influencers Are Being Accused of "Blackfishing," or Using Makeup to Appear Black," 16 Nov. 2018 The amendment to a homeland security appropriations bill would advise ICE to provide every detainee in custody with a copy of a privacy waiver form. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs,, "'There’s a family here waiting for them': Baltimore woman wants to take in granddaughter separated at border," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'appropriation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of appropriation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for appropriation

see appropriate entry 2

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Statistics for appropriation

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for appropriation

The first known use of appropriation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for appropriation



English Language Learners Definition of appropriation

: the act of getting or saving money for a specific use or purpose
: the act of taking or using something especially in a way that is illegal, unfair, etc.
: an amount of money that is used or provided by a government for a specific purpose


ap·​pro·​pri·​a·​tion | \ ə-ˌprō-prē-ˈā-shən How to pronounce appropriation (audio) \

Kids Definition of appropriation

1 : an act or instance of taking especially illegally or unfairly
2 : the act or an instance of setting apart for a special purpose
3 : a sum of money set apart for a special purpose

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