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)
v.1749, from Latin peculatus, past participle of peculari “to embezzle,” from peculum “private property,” originally “cattle” (see peculiar). Related: Peculated; peculating; peculator.