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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 embezzler
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not only he, but all the rest of them, must be made to feel that an embezzler is going to be caught, every time.

    The Silent Places Steward Edward White
  • The rumors, always contradicted, that the embezzler had been caught!

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Surely, he had not been the embezzler, the libertine, the assassin!

    The Key to Yesterday Charles Neville Buck
  • It becomes you well—you, the cheat, the embezzler, the swindler.

  • But all the venom of suspicion was wholly engaged with Frank Vaniman, the son of an embezzler.

  • Those are the only two places where an embezzler is comparatively safe these days.

    On Secret Service William Nelson Taft
  • Was the law sending its officers to seize the embezzler, the ruffian who had robbed widow and orphan?

  • These men who were robbed say that you are an embezzler, a thief.

  • A forger, embezzler and thief presided over Mississippis Department of Education.

    Dixie After the War Myrta Lockett Avary
British Dictionary definitions for embezzler


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 embezzler

1660s, agent noun from 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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