I am looking for a verb analogous to "embezzle", but concerning goods rather than money.

"Theft" is of course valid, but it's too broad - embezzle carries the connotation of stealing from your employer, or from assets that you had legitimate access to.

(In case it matters: in this case, the character is stealing weapons from an armoury that he is supposedly supervising, and selling them privately.)

  • 1
    How about misappropriation? – Autoresponder Oct 20 '13 at 18:31
  • @Autoresponder: Good idea, certainly better than theft. Not sure it's quite there - isn't that word usually used about assets or intangibles rather than objects? – Tynam Oct 20 '13 at 18:34

Embezzlement can refer to goods as well as money

the conversion of money or property entrusted to one fraudulently to one's own use

The term misappropriation can also be used for money or goods

to appropriate wrongly (as by theft or embezzlement)

Businesses call the loss they experience through both employee theft and shoplifting shrinkage

the loss of merchandise in a retail store through theft or damage

There is also a term used in business, diversion that may fit

Commerce: Practice in which goods intended for a particular market are diverted to be sold in another, usually without the knowledge or permission of the primary vendor.


The legal term waste is defined as "‘Any unauthorized act of a tenant for a freehold estate not of inheritance, or for any lesser interest, which tends to the destruction of the tenement, or otherwise to the injury of the inheritance’ (Pollock, Law of Torts, 1887, p. 285)"; anglice, reducing the value of something entrusted to you to benefit yourself. It's usually something like cutting down the trees on an estate before restoring it to the owner, but might cover your example.

  • Ooh, interesting. I didn't know that, thanks. – Tynam Oct 21 '13 at 8:29

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