How did the word “defalcate” originate and What does defalcate mean?

In its original sense, the word defalcate meant “to cut off by a sickle.”

Its Latin source, defalco, was formed from the preposition de, off, and f alx, sickle, and that was the literal sense in which the word was employed in Medieval Latin.

After its introduction into English speech, however, possibly from the notion that grasses cut with a sickle are then to be taken away, defalcate was used in the extended sense, “to take away.”

how did the word defalcate originate and what does defalcate mean

This has become its usual meaning, chiefly applied to the embezzlement of money.

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Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.