1530s, in sense “to lop off”, from Medieval Latin dēfalcātus, perfect passive participle of dēfalcō (“cut or lop off”), from Latin dē (“off”) + falx (“sickle, scythe, pruning hook”), from which also English falcate (“sickle-shaped”).
- (transitive) To misappropriate funds; to embezzle.
- (transitive) To cut off; to take away or deduct a part of (money, rents, income, etc.).
- To show what may be practicably and safely defalcated from the [the estimates].