mulct

noun
\ ˈməlkt How to pronounce mulct (audio) \

Definition of mulct

 (Entry 1 of 2)

mulct

verb
mulcted; mulcting; mulcts

Definition of mulct (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to punish by a fine
2a : to defraud especially of money : swindle
b : to obtain by fraud, duress, or theft

The Multi-Layered Mulct

A fine assessed as a penalty for an infraction is generally considered justifiable. Fraud, on the other hand, is wrong—it's just the sort of thing that deserves a fine. So in mulct we have a unique word, one that means both "to fine" and "to defraud." The "fine" sense came first. Mulct was borrowed from the Latin word for a fine, which is multa or mulcta. The "fine" sense is still in use, mostly in legal contexts ("the court mulcted the defendant for punitive damages"), but these days mulct is more often used for an illegal act. It has been speculated that the "defraud" use may have developed from an association with the verb milk, in its "to exploit, to coerce profit from" meaning (as in "she was milked by the lawyers for everything she had"), but that speculation has never been proven.

Examples of mulct in a Sentence

Noun the loan shark usually imposed a mulct of an additional 20% on overdue payments Verb trying to mulct the insurance company for an accident that never happened

First Known Use of mulct

Noun

1584, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mulct

Noun

Latin multa, mulcta

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Time Traveler for mulct

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near mulct

mulcher

mulct

mulder

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Cite this Entry

“Mulct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mulct. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for mulct

mulct

noun
\ ˈməlkt How to pronounce mulct (audio) \

Legal Definition of mulct

Other Words from mulct

mulct transitive verb

History and Etymology for mulct

Latin multa mulcta

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