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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.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for embezzled
  • Outside experts estimate that one-third of defence spending is embezzled or otherwise mis-spent.
  • Bank officials have embezzled billions of dollars in state funds and then fled overseas.
  • They have also transferred shares to offshore holding companies, arranged for the theft of equipment, and embezzled funds.
  • They discover piles of embezzled money and a plane ticket to another country among his possessions.
  • She then used the embezzled funds to finance her expensive lifestyle.
  • She also admitted to tax evasion based on her failure to report the embezzled money as income and to pay taxes on the money.
  • In respect to those funds, the charge against him is that he embezzled them by converting them to his own use.
  • She also admitted that the funds she embezzled should have been reported as income on her tax returns.
British Dictionary definitions for embezzled


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 embezzled



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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