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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Defalcate \De*fal"cate\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Defalcated; p. pr. & vb. n. Defalcating.] [LL. defalcatus, p. p. of defalcare to deduct, orig., to cut off with a sickle; L. de- + falx, falcis, a sickle. See Falchion.] To cut off; to take away or deduct a part of; -- used chiefly of money, accounts, rents, income, etc.

To show what may be practicably and safely defalcated from them [the estimates].


Defalcate \De*fal"cate\, v. i. To commit defalcation; to embezzle money held in trust. ``Some partner defalcating, or the like.''

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1530s, "to lop off," from Medieval Latin defalcatus, past participle of defalcare (see defalcation). Modern scientific use dates from 1808.


vb. 1 (context transitive English) To misappropriate funds; to embezzle. 2 (context transitive English) To cut off; to take away or deduct a part of (money, rents, income, etc.).


v. appropriate (as property entrusted to one's care) fraudulently to one's own use; "The accountant embezzled thousands of dollars while working for the wealthy family" [syn: embezzle, peculate, misappropriate, malversate]

Usage examples of "defalcate".

He has, more than another, the exalted sentiment of honor, but is lacking in the sense of simple honesty, and, circumstances favoring him, would defalcate and commit infamies which do not trouble his conscience, for he obeys without questioning the oscillations of his ideas, which are always impulsive.