verb (used with or without object), pec·u·lat·ed, pec·u·lat·ing.
- to steal or take dishonestly (money, especially public funds, or property entrusted to one’s care); embezzle.
- to appropriate or embezzle (public money)
n.1650s, noun of action from Latin peculari (see peculate). v.1749, from Latin peculatus, past participle of peculari “to embezzle,” from peculum “private property,” originally “cattle” (see peculiar). Related: Peculated; peculating; peculator.