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 \ ə-​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 Rather than illuminating the stories of asylum-seeking migrants, Latinx readers and writers felt the novel was an exercise in cultural appropriation, relying on embarrassing linguistic missteps and ugly stereotypes. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "‘American Dirt’ falls in the mud," 31 Jan. 2020 But calling these wigs cultural appropriation is almost too easy. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "The Wigs At Comme des Garçons Weren’t Appropriation, But They’re Still Problematic," 28 Jan. 2020 To many, this felt like an excuse for cultural appropriation, and a product of a publishing industry that does not reflect the nation's diverse population. Maggie Gordon, Houston Chronicle, "Houston bookstore cancels 'American Dirt' author appearance," 28 Jan. 2020 If cultural appropriation were wrong, Ashanti people shouldn’t be wearing it. New York Times, "Should I Tell My Aunt That Her Costume Is Racist?," 21 Jan. 2020 The wigs have gotten much scrutiny from the internet, with some calling the look cultural appropriation — especially since the fashion house used majority white models for an aesthetic strongly linked to black culture. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Comme des Garçons criticized for cultural appropriation for using lace front cornrow wigs," 18 Jan. 2020 Despite the artist being scrutinized in the public eye for cultural appropriation and shading Britney Spears, Perry is still willing to push through. Rasha Ali, USA TODAY, "Katy Perry opens up about how Orlando Bloom helped her overcome mental health struggles," 2 Jan. 2020 Tomorrow, in 2014: The dominance of white artists in the pop space leads to uncomfortable-but-necessary questions about when musical influence becomes cultural appropriation. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, "2013 Was the Year That... Streaming Officially Became Unignorable," 5 Dec. 2019 Was the adoption of Zen cultural appropriation—an almost punitive theft of the losing side’s heritage? Kyle Chayka, Harper's magazine, "Being in Nothingness," 25 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for appropriation

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for appropriation

Last Updated

7 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Appropriation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for appropriation


How to pronounce appropriation (audio)

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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