Definition: misappropriation or embezzlement of funds.
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“.