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[v. kon-fuh-skeyt; adj. kuh n-fis-kit] /v. ˈkɒn fəˌskeɪt; adj. kənˈfɪs kɪt/
verb (used with object), confiscated, confiscating.
to seize as forfeited to the public domain; appropriate, by way of penalty, for public use.
to seize by or as if by authority; appropriate summarily:
The border guards confiscated our movie cameras.
seized or appropriated, as for public use.
Origin of confiscate
1525-35; < Latin confiscātus (past participle of confiscāre to seize for the public treasury), equivalent to con- con- + fisc(us) basket, moneybag, public treasury (see fiscal) + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
confiscatable, adjective
confiscation, noun
confiscator, noun
nonconfiscation, noun
proconfiscation, adjective
reconfiscate, verb (used with object), reconfiscated, reconfiscating.
unconfiscated, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for confiscate
  • Any idiot could see that the better thing to do would be to study the marijuana that they confiscate.
  • confiscate all electrical appliances and tear up the roads.
  • One of the citizens might decide to confiscate more than their share of the profits.
  • Although the agency has the power to lock up non-payers and to confiscate their driving licences, it seldom does so.
  • The police will confiscate cameras from people who try.
  • Powers to confiscate criminals' ill-gotten gains have grown steadily.
  • It must disarm the militants and confiscate their weapons.
  • In hospitals, nurses have tended to confiscate knives and razors to prevent cutting.
  • Make war on all those economies to confiscate their gold reserves again.
  • If you are found out they can confiscate the ticket and close your account.
British Dictionary definitions for confiscate


verb (transitive)
to seize (property), esp for public use and esp by way of a penalty
seized or confiscated; forfeit
having lost or been deprived of property through confiscation
Derived Forms
confiscation, noun
confiscator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin confiscāre to seize for the public treasury, from fiscus basket, treasury
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for confiscate

1550s, originally, "to appropriate for the treasury," from Latin confiscatus, past participle of confiscare, from com- "together" (see com-) + fiscus "public treasury," literally "money basket" (see fiscal). Related: Confiscated; confiscating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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