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

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Other Words from expropriate

expropriator \ ek-​ˈsprō-​prē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce expropriator (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 us 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 has been a part of the language since at least 1611. 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 In Venezuela, the socialist state has seized 10 million acres of private land, expropriated 1,365 companies and purchased 5,000 more. Washington Post, "Socialism doesn’t work? An emerging middle class of Bolivians would beg to differ.," 16 Oct. 2019 Simultaneously, a petition is underway for a referendum to expropriate rental units from big corporate landlords. Bloomberg Opinion, Twin Cities, "Other voices: Rent controls are not the answer," 10 Oct. 2019 That move is expected to trigger many thousands of lawsuits, demanding billions of dollars in compensation from Cuba for properties expropriated after the 1959 revolution, and also to dampen the appetites of foreign investors interested in Cuba. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Mexico, Cuba, and Trump’s Increasing Preference for Punishment Over Diplomacy," 11 June 2019 The debate about land ownership recently escalated when South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, raised the possibility of expropriating land without compensation. Gregory Barber, WIRED, "Inside an All-White Town’s Divisive Experiment With Cryptocurrency," 6 June 2019 Like Crystallex, these multinationals were trying to enforce arbitration awards surrounding a nationalization campaign that expropriated their investments in Venezuela. Andrew Scurria, WSJ, "Venezuela Strikes Deal to Save Citgo From Seizure," 25 Nov. 2018 On Saturday, the tenant advocate and his allies plan to start collecting signatures for a ballot proposal that would push the city to expropriate all private, profit-seeking landlords that own more than 3,000 apartments. Konrad Putzier, WSJ, "In Berlin, a Radical Proposal to Combat Rising Rents: Expropriate Big Landlords," 2 Apr. 2019 Rather than expropriating the wealthy, low-income voters in several swing states helped put a billionaire in the White House who then slashed taxes on the rich. Daniel Treisman, Washington Post, "Why the poor don’t vote to soak the rich," 27 Feb. 2018 The World Bank has had a longstanding provision in its founding articles that obliges it to cease lending operations in countries that expropriate assets without fair compensation. WSJ, "South Africa Should Study Zimbabwe’s Sad Land Grab," 28 Nov. 2018

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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Time Traveler for expropriate

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The first known use of expropriate was in 1611

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Expropriate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expropriate?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=exprop01. Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for expropriate


How to pronounce expropriate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of expropriate

formal : 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 expropriation (audio) \ noun

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very cautious or careful

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