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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 confiscation
  • No more slaps on the wrist of confiscation, fines and trips to minimum security facilities.
  • Violators face progressive punishment ranging from confiscation of the phone to detention to a one-day suspension.
  • Pack liquid or gel substances such as toothpaste in your checked luggage to avoid confiscation at security stations.
  • To avoid disappointment and confiscation upon arrival it's best to check the local laws and regulations.
  • He thinks that the draconian powers of state-ordered confiscation of land will be rarely-perhaps never-used.
  • They are prepared to do anything to enforce this confiscation both ways because their main goal is self-serving.
  • He proposed to his fellow princes a general confiscation of church property-for the good of the church.
  • The penalty was the confiscation of the work, with many days of fasting on bread and water.
  • The government's gun confiscation scheme would have to be well thought out indeed.
  • Judgment of conviction for possession of a controlled substance and order for confiscation of weapons, affirmed.
British Dictionary definitions for confiscation


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 confiscation

1540s, from Middle French confiscation, from Latin confiscationem (nominative confiscatio), noun of action from past participle stem of confiscare (see 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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