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

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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

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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

Several had their phones confiscated for the remainder of the summer and continued to be hounded by police back home, according to a student who took part in the action. Yanan Wang, The Seattle Times, "Missing elite Chinese university alumni spark outcry," 14 Nov. 2018 In these raids, police have been questioning professors and confiscating materials belonging to students and professors. Amy Erica Smith, Vox, "Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors," 1 Nov. 2018 The previous day, investigators shut down a drug-selling operation in the capital led by two Lebanese citizens, confiscating three kilograms of heroin and a large amount of cash. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "An Ice-Cream Truck Slaying, Party Drugs and Real-Estate Kings: Ethnic Clans Clash in Berlin’s Underworld," 15 Oct. 2018 In 2017, The Baltimore Sun reported the city had arrested 45 people and confiscated more than 200 bikes in about a year. Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue, "Meet the People Empowering Baltimore Teens With Dirt Bikes, Burgers, and Yoga," 27 Aug. 2018 The suit sought $100 million in damages, claiming the county had in effect taken, or confiscated the property, without fairly compensating the owners. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "With $45.4 million at stake, what's next after the rubblefill judgment?," 20 Apr. 2018 Inevitably, the slow pace of redistribution is leading to calls for South Africa to take a short cut, by copying Robert Mugabe, the deposed ruler of Zimbabwe, who confiscated land from white farmers without paying. The Economist, "The Zimbabwean modelSouth Africa should not copy Mugabe’s land reform," 25 Jan. 2018 Ownership of the property was left in the hands of a non-Japanese trustee who confiscated and sold it. Melissa Hung /, NBC News, "Fires burned the legacy of California's historic 'wine king.' This winery wants to rebuild it.," 7 Jan. 2018 Chinese journalists also had equipment confiscated. James Griffiths, CNN, "How to get to North Korea's nuclear site," 23 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for confiscate

The first known use of confiscate was circa 1533

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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

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