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[dee-fal-key-shuh n, -fawl-] /ˌdi fælˈkeɪ ʃən, -fɔl-/
noun, Law.
misappropriation of money or funds held by an official, trustee, or other fiduciary.
the sum misappropriated.
Origin of defalcation
1425-75; late Middle English: deduction from wages (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin dēfalcātiōn- (stem of dēfalcātiō) a taking away, equivalent to dēfalcāt(us) (see defalcate) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nondefalcation, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for defalcation
Historical Examples
  • "My uncle was not down here this morning," Maude would say:—and then she would go on to excuse the defalcation.

    Kept in the Dark Anthony Trollope
  • Evidently there had been a defalcation on rather a large scale.

    Miss Mehetabel's Son Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  • You don't mean that this is the blackguard who wrote that account of the defalcation in the Events?

    The Quality of Mercy W. D. Howells
  • But nothing yet concerning the defalcation and disappearance of Angelo Puma.

    The Crimson Tide Robert W. Chambers
  • The only distinct cause assigned by M. de St Priest, for his defalcation in the lists, is the Arragonese version.

  • The rumor of Elijah's defalcation had not disturbed Seymour seriously.

    The Vision of Elijah Berl Frank Lewis Nason
  • The defalcation—if Cowperwood's failure made Stener's loan into one—could be concealed long enough, Mollenhauer thought, to win.

    The Financier Theodore Dreiser
  • The national treasury suffered during the revolt a defalcation of some fifty thousand pesos.

    The History of Cuba, vol. 2 Willis Fletcher Johnson
  • What, then, was the cause of Griffo's defalcation, and who had inspired him to this signal piece of treachery?

    The God of Love Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • He would either win a considerable stake or have sufficient in hand to cover up his defalcation.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
Word Origin and History for defalcation

mid-15c., from Medieval Latin defalcationem (nominative defalcatio), noun of action from past participle stem of defalcare, from de- + Latin falx, falcem "sickle, scythe, pruning hook."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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