embezzle

verb
em·​bez·​zle | \ im-ˈbe-zəl How to pronounce embezzle (audio) , em- \
embezzled; embezzling\ im-​ˈbe-​zə-​liŋ How to pronounce embezzling (audio) , -​ˈbez-​liŋ , em-​ \

Definition of embezzle

transitive verb

: to appropriate (something, such as property entrusted to one's care) fraudulently to one's own use embezzled thousands of dollars

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Other Words from embezzle

embezzlement \ im-​ˈbe-​zəl-​mənt How to pronounce embezzlement (audio) , em-​ \ noun
embezzler \ im-​ˈbe-​zə-​lər How to pronounce embezzler (audio) , em-​ , -​ˈbez-​lər \ noun

Did You Know?

English has a lot of verbs that mean to steal - some more specific than others. "Pilfer," "purloin," "rob," "swipe," "plunder," "filch," and "thieve" are some noted examples. "Embezzle" differs from these by stressing the improper appropriation of property to which a person is entrusted - often in the form of company funds. First appearing in English in the 15th century, embezzle derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French embesiller, meaning "to make away," formed from the prefix en- and the verb besiller, meaning "to steal or plunder." Related to "embezzle" is "bezzle," a verb used in some British English dialects to mean "to waste or plunder" or "to drink or eat to excess."

Examples of embezzle in a Sentence

He was caught embezzling money from his clients. He was convicted of embezzling.
Recent Examples on the Web He was accused of conspiring with UAW cronies to embezzle more than $1 million. Washington Post, "Ex-UAW president repays union $55k for travel expenses," 29 June 2020 He was accused of conspiring with UAW cronies to embezzle more than $1 million. Tom Krisher, Detroit Free Press, "Ex-UAW president Dennis Williams repays union $55k for travel expenses," 29 June 2020 Platforma accountants testified that they were ordered to embezzle the funds by the Platforma management. Robyn Dixon, Washington Post, "Renowned Russian director convicted of embezzlement in what critics call a show trial," 26 June 2020 Fueling the growing discontent: an anti-corruption movement spurred by $2 billion in aid Haiti received from a Venezuela oil program that was supposed to be invested in post-quake projects that government auditors said was embezzled. National Geographic, "Unlimited access to today’s stories, videos, and photo galleries," 10 Jan. 2020 Cranford and other executives embezzled from the nonprofit company, according to federal prosecutors. Doug Thompson, Arkansas Online, "Lobbyist in Arkansas corruption scheme gets 7 years in prison," 25 Nov. 2019 Seungri and Yoo are suspected of having embezzled around 2 billion won in total through their business partnership (around $1.71 million USD). Caitlin Kelley, Billboard, "Burning Sun Scandal: A Timeline of Allegations, Arrests and Involvement of Several K-Pop Stars [Updated]," 24 Mar. 2019 The court Friday ruled that Mr. Lee, who has been in detention since April, embezzled about $21 million from DAS. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Former South Korean President Sentenced to 15 Years in Jail," 5 Oct. 2018 What money that has been allocated has often been spent inefficiently, or embezzled. Irina Vilcu, Bloomberg.com, "Health Care Is Killing Patients in Europe’s Most Corrupt Region," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embezzle.' 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 embezzle

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for embezzle

Middle English embesilen, from Anglo-French embesiller to make away with, from en- + besiller to steal, plunder

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Time Traveler for embezzle

Time Traveler

The first known use of embezzle was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embezzle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embezzle. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for embezzle

embezzle

verb
How to pronounce embezzle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embezzle

: to steal money that you have been trusted with

embezzle

verb
em·​bez·​zle | \ im-ˈbe-zəl How to pronounce embezzle (audio) \
embezzled; embezzling

Kids Definition of embezzle

: to steal (money or property) despite being entrusted to take care of it The banker embezzled money from his customers.
em·​bez·​zle | \ im-ˈbe-zəl How to pronounce embezzle (audio) \
embezzled; embezzling

Legal Definition of embezzle

: to convert (property entrusted to one's care) fraudulently to one's own use — compare defalcate

Other Words from embezzle

embezzlement noun
embezzler noun

History and Etymology for embezzle

Anglo-French embeseiller to make away with, from en-, prefix stressing completion + beseller to snatch, misappropriate, from Old French, to destroy

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