Definition of expropriate in US English:



[with object]
  • 1(especially of the state) take away (property) from its owner.

    ‘government plans to expropriate farmland’
    • ‘He feared that homestead legislation would expropriate land he needed for his college bill.’
    • ‘The republic did expropriate ecclesiastical properties, but Mazzini was sincere in his assurances that property would be respected and unlawful acts punished.’
    • ‘They can expropriate property through taxes or the right of immanent domain (breaking the Seventh Commandment).’
    • ‘As China grows into a great power, the wealth transferred into the country by expropriating intellectual property will propel it forward.’
    • ‘There, a family alleged that its property was expropriated by the Egyptian government in 1977 and then, in 1993, sold to Coca Cola.’
    • ‘In regard to agriculture, it reserved to itself the authority to expropriate any farm that did not produce foodstuffs to its satisfaction.’
    • ‘In 1989, municipal authorities under a previous mayor had expropriated 750 acres and evicted thousands of squatters.’
    • ‘The City will then reconsider the resolution to expropriate the property,’ he says.’
    • ‘Drug companies are sitting ducks for governments to expropriate their property.’
    • ‘Once the board was established, its enormous powers to expropriate property and enter the real-estate market provided a new momentum to urban segregation.’
    • ‘The state or a competent body or organ authorised by law may expropriate property in the public interest subject to the payment of just compensation.’
    • ‘The Government's understanding of that article is that compensation is required generally where property is expropriated.’
    • ‘They cannot just expropriate property by saying it is compensation for a debt owing for customs unless there is some rational relationship between them.’
    • ‘Few governments place massive restrictions on direct foreign investments or attempt to expropriate property from foreign firms located within their borders.’
    • ‘The Government member says the proposed legislation expropriates customary property rights, and does not propose any form of compensation.’
    • ‘He charged that he had personally expropriated the family's property and business interests, which were the foundation of the his multimillion-dollar personal fortune.’
    • ‘I do not understand how the court can have the power to produce such a result as it effectively expropriates my property.’
    • ‘Governments expropriate private property all the time, and they always have.’
    • ‘In short, were properties expropriated or were they not?’
    • ‘There is no need, George declares, to nationalize the land; it would neither be purchased nor expropriated by the state.’
    seize, take away, take over, take, appropriate, take possession of, requisition, commandeer, claim, make claim to, assume, acquire, sequestrate, wrest
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Dispossess (someone) of property.
      ‘the land reform expropriated the Irish landlords’
      • ‘Economic progress was thus fastest in England, where landlords expropriated the peasants and created a dynamic agrarian capitalism.’
      • ‘The letters mark the first time since land reforms began in 1996 that the government has taken steps to expropriate farmers.’
      • ‘The entire wealth of the people was expropriated.’
      • ‘The union last month said it planned to forcefully occupy the farm outside to protest the government's failure to implement a decision to expropriate land owners.’
      • ‘It aroused the envy of some of the other villagers, who talked darkly of when the revolution came and they could expropriate us and the owners of the castle up the road.’
      • ‘The president was concerned to withstand pressure to expropriate white farmers, but struggled to maintain national unity as he was faced with public discontent.’
      • ‘Should rich peasants be wholly expropriated or should they be given a share of the redistributed land, and if so should this be land of average quality or poor land?’
      • ‘In that way the tourist will not be expropriating the thief of the camera because it doesn't belong to him (the thief) in the first place.’
      • ‘The letters marked the first time that the government has moved to expropriate farms under its land-reform programme.’
      • ‘By that time a number of landlords were only too glad to sell up and be expropriated.’
      • ‘You falsified our names and we were expropriated.’
      • ‘But the leaders will not expropriate anyone or close any of the mass media.’
      • ‘As a result, the government took away two of his power companies and a bank, and threatened to expropriate his family.’


Late 16th century: from medieval Latin expropriat- ‘taken from the owner’, from the verb expropriare, from ex- ‘out, from’ + proprium ‘property’, neuter singular of proprius ‘own’.