mis·​ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ˌmi-sə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce misappropriate (audio) \
misappropriated; misappropriating; misappropriates

Definition of misappropriate

transitive verb

: to appropriate wrongly (as by theft or embezzlement)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from misappropriate

misappropriation \ ˌmi-​sə-​ˌprō-​prē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce misappropriate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for misappropriate


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of misappropriate in a Sentence

They accused him of misappropriating town funds. a financial manager misappropriating funds from her clients' accounts
Recent Examples on the Web The assistant might then interpret the request as a demand to misappropriate a dose, Vian explained. Laura J. Nelson, oregonlive, "Wealthy patients scramble for COVID-19 vaccine: ‘If I donate $25,000 ... would that help me?’," 18 Dec. 2020 Google makes several voluntary commitments, including a promise not to misappropriate content from rivals’ websites. Brent Kendall And Valentina Pop, WSJ, "Google’s Long Tail of Government Probes," 20 Oct. 2020 His resignation came a week after federal agents indicted 17 people in Rio de Janeiro, including a former state lawmaker, for alleged involvement in a scheme to misappropriate funds meant to be spent on medical equipment. CNN, "As coronavirus cases explode in Brazil, so do investigations into alleged corruption," 8 July 2020 The idea that anyone misappropriates it to make coronavirus seem like an Asian plot is terrible. Los Angeles Times, "First coronavirus, now ‘murder hornets’? ‘The Simpsons’ predicts the future again," 7 May 2020 Genius did another round of analysis and estimates 40 percent of lyrics from new music displayed in the information box were misappropriated from its site. Ashley Cullins, Billboard, "Genius Says It Caught Google, LyricFind 'Redhanded' Stealing Lyrics in $50M Suit," 3 Dec. 2019 And there is controversy over Nashville’s signature dish, hot chicken, an African-American creation that many feel has been misappropriated and widely marketed by white people. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "A Tornado Decimated North Nashville. The Rebuilding May Destroy Its Soul.," 4 Mar. 2020 An investigation later showed Gold misappropriated more than $49,000 of the money and spent the majority of it on personal expense between October 2013 and January 2015. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Westlake attorney pleads guilty to embezzlement, stealing client’s identity," 31 Jan. 2020 Earlier this month, federal authorities hit Huawei with racketeering and a litany of other charges, ranging from misappropriating intellectual property from U.S. tech companies to bypassing sanctions and doing business with North Korea and Iran. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, "Senate passes bill providing $1 billion for rural telecom networks to replace Huawei," 28 Feb. 2020

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

1825, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about misappropriate

Time Traveler for misappropriate

Time Traveler

The first known use of misappropriate was in 1825

See more words from the same year

Statistics for misappropriate

Last Updated

25 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Misappropriate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misappropriate. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for misappropriate


How to pronounce misappropriate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of misappropriate

formal : to take (something, such as money) dishonestly for your own use : to appropriate (something) wrongly


transitive verb
mis·​ap·​pro·​pri·​ate | \ ˌmi-sə-ˈprō-prē-ˌāt How to pronounce misappropriate (audio) \

Legal Definition of misappropriate

: to appropriate wrongfully or unlawfully (as by theft or embezzlement)

Other Words from misappropriate

misappropriation \ -​ˌprō-​prē-​ˈā-​shən How to pronounce misappropriate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on misappropriate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for misappropriate

Nglish: Translation of misappropriate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on misappropriate

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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