Definition of confiscate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒnfɪskeɪt/


[with object]
1Take or seize (someone’s property) with authority: the guards confiscated his camera (as adjective confiscated) confiscated equipment
More example sentences
  • Authorities also began confiscating firearms from civilians.
  • It was the first time the authorities had confiscated vessels in their battle to clamp down on illegal fishing.
  • If you violate the country's camera use rules, they may confiscate your equipment and we have absolutely no recourse.
impound, seize, commandeer, requisition, appropriate, expropriate, take possession of, sequester, sequestrate, take away, take over, take, annex;
Law  distrain, attach, disseize;
Scottish Law  poind
1.1Appropriate (something, especially land) to the public treasury as a penalty: the government confiscated his property early in the war
More example sentences
  • Many lands were confiscated and many Royalists were rewarded for their loyalty to the crown.
  • As part of the deal, the city would even confiscate land from private owners so that the Rangers owners could engage in real estate speculation.
  • Three million acres of Maori land were confiscated, some restored, but the sale and loss of Maori territory continued.



Pronunciation: /ˈkɒnfɪˌskeɪtə/
Example sentences
  • Save me from the militaristic patriotism-defining property confiscators!
  • The ‘confiscators’ had a terrible attitude and even called in security personnel to forcibly remove news photographers from the scene.
  • Southern whites would visit their wrath on the Federal soldier who served as the ‘propagator of the most infamous and sanguinary doctrines, as an apostle of servile war, murder and outrage, as a confiscator and a robber.’


Pronunciation: /kənˈfɪskət(ə)ri/
Example sentences
  • Proving once again that a primary function of government is the obsessive pursuit of finding new ways to bleed the public by confiscatory taxation, the State of Oregon will implement a program to tax the odometers on vehicles.
  • For most others, taxes were often confiscatory and arbitrary, so that broad-based capital accumulation has been near-impossible.
  • I don't believe that making money is evil, that rich people are necessarily greedy, or that confiscatory taxation helps the poor.


Mid 16th century: from Latin confiscat- 'put away in a chest, consigned to the public treasury', from the verb confiscare, based on con- 'together' + fiscus 'chest, treasury'.

  • The original meaning of confiscate was ‘to take someone's property for the public treasury as a punishment’. It comes from Latin confiscare ‘to store in a chest’ or ‘to take something for the public treasury’, based on con- ‘together’ and fiscus ‘chest or treasury’, also the root of fiscal (mid 16th century).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: con|fis|cate

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