verb1 : to deprive of possession or proprietary rights 2 : to transfer (the property of another) to one’s own possession
The city council rejected a proposal to expropriate private property for the highway expansion.
“The city spent nearly $50,000 to expropriate eight tracts that could be used for a potential studio expansion.” — Michele Marcotte, The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), July 21, 2013
Did you know?
If you guessed that expropriate has something in common with the verb appropriate, you’re right. Both words ultimately derive from the Latin adjective proprius, meaning “own.” Expropriate came to us by way of the Medieval Latin verb expropriare, itself from Latin ex- (“out of” or “from”) and proprius. Appropriate descends from Late Latin appropriare, which joins proprius and Latin ad- (“to” or “toward”). Both the verb appropriate (“to take possession of” or “to set aside for a particular use”) and the adjective appropriate (“fitting” or “suitable”) have been with us since the 15th century, and expropriate has been a part of the language since at least 1611. Other proprius descendants in English include proper and property.