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[em-bez-uh l] /ɛmˈbɛz əl/
verb (used with object), embezzled, embezzling.
to appropriate fraudulently to one's own use, as money or property entrusted to one's care.
Origin of embezzle
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English embesilen < Anglo-French embeseiller to destroy, make away with, equivalent to em- em-1 + beseiller, Old French beseiller to destroy < ?
Related forms
embezzlement, noun
embezzler, noun
nonembezzlement, noun
unembezzled, adjective
misappropriate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for embezzle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If servants get not their meat honestly and decently, they will neglect their master's business, or embezzle his goods.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • I don't say it was proved on the other hand that he did embezzle that sum.

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • When I urged reform, the officials and gentry seized the opportunity to embezzle.

    China and the Manchus Herbert Allen Giles
  • "embezzle for him $70,000 worth of securities," thought the examiner.

    Roads of Destiny O. Henry
  • embezzle a large sum of money under singularly distressing circumstances!

    Erewhon Samuel Butler
  • In return they were always trying to beg or embezzle the treasure of the king at Susa.

  • I cannot believe that that man will ever embezzle money again.

  • To appropriate another man's design was no more nor less than to embezzle his money or steal his goods.

    A Laodicean Thomas Hardy
British Dictionary definitions for embezzle


to convert (money or property entrusted to one) fraudulently to one's own use
Derived Forms
embezzlement, noun
embezzler, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-French embeseiller to destroy, from Old French beseiller to make away with, of uncertain origin
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 embezzle

early 15c., from Anglo-French embesiler "to steal, cause to disappear" (c.1300), from Old French em- (see en- (1)) + besillier "torment, destroy, gouge," of unknown origin. Sense of "to dispose of fraudulently" is first recorded 1580s. Related: Embezzled; embezzling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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