One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Embezzle or steal (money, especially public funds)‘the people accused them of having peculated the public money’no object ‘he was arrested for peculating from official funds’purloin, thieve, take, take for oneself, help oneself to, loot, pilfer, abscond with, run off with, appropriate, abstract, carry off, shopliftView synonyms
Mid 18th century: from Latin peculat- ‘embezzled’, from the verb peculari (related to peculium ‘property’).
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