confiscate

adjective
con·​fis·​cate | \ ˈkän-fə-ˌskāt, kən-ˈfi-skət \

Definition of confiscate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : appropriated by the government : forfeited
2 : deprived of property by confiscation

confiscate

verb
con·​fis·​cate | \ ˈkän-fə-ˌskāt \
confiscated; confiscating

Definition of confiscate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to seize as forfeited to the public treasury
2 : to seize by or as if by authority

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from confiscate

Verb

confiscation \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈskā-​shən \ noun
confiscator \ ˈkän-​fə-​ˌskā-​tər \ noun
confiscatory \ kən-​ˈfi-​skə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

Synonyms for confiscate

Synonyms: Verb

attach, expropriate, sequester

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of confiscate in a Sentence

Verb

Guards confiscated knives and other weapons from the prisoners. The teacher confiscated all cell phones for the duration of the field trip.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 18-year-old was stopped by officials in Thailand who confiscated her passport. Trevor Marshallsea, The Seattle Times, "Thai, Saudi officials meet over case of young Saudi woman," 8 Jan. 2019 In 2016, according to Motherboard, police in the Netherlands arrested a man accused of selling custom PGP smartphones after confiscating servers that sent encrypted messages. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Police decrypt 258,000 messages after breaking pricey IronChat crypto app," 7 Nov. 2018 Levin was charged with three counts of gaining unauthorized access to a network, his home was raided by the police, and all of his devices were confiscated. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "Real security flaws became a sketchy hacking investigation in Georgia," 5 Nov. 2018 The insurgents’ other goals in Ghazni, Mr. Mujahid said, were to confiscate weapons, free Taliban prisoners from the city’s jail and hold a strategic highway connecting the capital Kabul and Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Afghan Troops, Taliban Both Claim Advantage in Major Fighting," 11 Aug. 2018 State lawmakers are poised to send a bill to Governor Charlie Baker that would give judges the power to confiscate weapons from individuals deemed a risk to themselves or others. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Legislature could soon move ‘red flag’ gun bill to Baker’s desk," 28 June 2018 Onofri said the shooting appears to be related to a dispute among people at the event, and police confiscated several weapons. Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, "Suspect killed, at least 20 injured in shooting at New Jersey arts festival," 17 June 2018 The ordinance empowers the town’s police chief to confiscate the assault weapons of anyone charged under the ordinance. Karen Berkowitz, chicagotribune.com, "Gun groups want a restraining order against Deerfield's assault weapons ban before it takes effect in 2 weeks," 1 June 2018 Of course not—because nothing short of confiscating all guns would do that. Michael Graham, CBS News, "Commentary: The problem with "common-sense" gun laws," 21 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of confiscate

Adjective

circa 1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confiscate

Adjective

Latin confiscatus, past participle of confiscare to confiscate, from com- + fiscus treasury

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about confiscate

Share confiscate

Statistics for confiscate

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confiscate

The first known use of confiscate was circa 1533

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for confiscate

confiscate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of confiscate

: to take (something) away from someone especially as punishment or to enforce the law or rules

confiscate

verb
con·​fis·​cate | \ ˈkän-fə-ˌskāt \
confiscated; confiscating

Kids Definition of confiscate

: to seize by or as if by public authority Police confiscated the stolen car.

Other Words from confiscate

confiscation \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈskā-​shən \ noun

confiscate

transitive verb
con·​fis·​cate | \ ˈkän-fə-ˌskāt \
confiscated; confiscating

Legal Definition of confiscate

: to seize without compensation as forfeited to the public treasury — compare criminal forfeiture

Note: Illegal items such as narcotics or firearms, or profits from the sale of illegal items, may be confiscated by law enforcement officers. Additionally, government action that reduces the value of property to a person or entity as to make it nearly worthless has been held to constitute confiscation. Examples of such government action include the passage of zoning laws that prevent the use of land for its designated purpose and the setting of utility rates so low that the utility company cannot realize a reasonable return on its investment.

Other Words from confiscate

confiscation \ ˌkän-​fə-​ˈskā-​shən \ noun
confiscator \ ˈkän-​fə-​ˌskā-​tər \ noun
confiscatory \ kən-​ˈfis-​kə-​ˌtōr-​ē \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on confiscate

What made you want to look up confiscate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!