verb (used with object), em·bez·zled, em·bez·zling.

  1. to appropriate fraudulently to one’s own use, as money or property entrusted to one’s care.


  1. to convert (money or property entrusted to one) fraudulently to one’s own use

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.

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