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Defalcation

Definition: misappropriation or embezzlement of funds.

Origin

This great noun, dated back to the 18th century, stems from the Medieval Latin defalcare meaning to mow or to deduct. A different theory analyzes this noun including the letin flax meaning sickle; with the de affix meaning ‘off’ and tion suffix meaning ‘the act of’ and thus literally- cutting off with a sickle.

Why this word?

Defalcation is mainly found in the United States Bankruptcy Code, describing a category of bad acts that taint a particular debt such that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. However, there is no reason not to use it in any case of funds being transferred to a goal rather than the set one. For example (surely I was never accused of this!), spending my rent money on a new pair of shoes, is a definite act of defalcation.

How to use defalcation?

Defalcation is the act of money misuse.

The executive was charged with defalcation when he bought a new car with the company’s advertising budget

Sorry John, we would not be able to come… Jane’s defalcation of our vacation saving completely prevents it“.

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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