ex·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ek-ˈsprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce expropriate (audio) \
expropriated; expropriating

Definition of expropriate

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of possession or proprietary rights
2 : to transfer (the property of another) to one's own possession

Other Words from expropriate

expropriator \ ek-​ˈsprō-​prē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce expropriate (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

If you guessed that expropriate has something in common with the verb appropriate, you're right. Both words ultimately derive from the Latin adjective proprius, meaning "own." Expropriate came to English by way of the Medieval Latin verb expropriare, itself from Latin ex- ("out of" or "from") and proprius. Appropriate descends from Late Latin appropriare, which joins proprius and Latin ad- ("to" or "toward"). Both the verb appropriate ("to take possession of" or "to set aside for a particular use") and the adjective appropriate ("fitting" or "suitable") have been with us since the 15th century, and expropriate was officially appropriated in the 17th century. Other proprius descendants in English include proper and property.

Examples of expropriate in a Sentence

dissidents were shot, and their lands expropriated under his regime the state will have to expropriate scores of homeowners in order to build the new road
Recent Examples on the Web The city of Athens claimed the land using its power of eminent domain — that is, the right of a government to expropriate private property for public use. Eric Stirgus, ajc, 29 Oct. 2021 This will allow Caiso to override utility contracts and expropriate power destined for other states. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 11 July 2021 The legal battle is already underway to expropriate the property, located in a relatively affluent part of Tijuana. Wendy Fry, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 May 2021 The following year President Ollanta Humala signed a law allowing the government to expropriate land for the airport. Colleen Connolly, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2021 The government uses a mix of bold and obscure legal procedures to expropriate Palestinians’ land, demolish homes, and forbid construction by Palestinians, while encouraging building and other land use by Jews. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2021 Since 2016, municipalities in the Catalonia region, including Barcelona, can expropriate landlords of properties that have been left vacant for more than two years through compulsory purchase, at 50 percent of market rate. Francisco Pérez, The New Republic, 31 July 2020 In 2017, Austria’s highest court ruled that the government was within its rights to expropriate the building after its owners refused to sell it. Fox News, 3 June 2020 To be white in antebellum America, for instance, was to be able to enslave Africans and expropriate native land. Jamelle Bouie, New York Times, 8 May 2020

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for expropriate

Medieval Latin expropriatus, past participle of expropriare, from Latin ex- + proprius own

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The first known use of expropriate was in 1611

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Last Updated

14 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Expropriate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expropriate. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for expropriate



English Language Learners Definition of expropriate

: to take (someone's property)


transitive verb
ex·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ek-ˈsprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce expropriate (audio) \
expropriated; expropriating

Legal Definition of expropriate

: to take (property) of an individual in the exercise of state sovereignty (as by eminent domain)

Other Words from expropriate

expropriation \ ek-​ˌsprō-​prē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce expropriate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on expropriate

Nglish: Translation of expropriate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of expropriate for Arabic Speakers


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