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[earlier, deduction, lessening, shortcoming, from Medieval Latin defalcatio discounting of debt, from defalcare to cut down, deduct, from Latin de- away from + falc-, falx sickle]
1 : failure to account for or pay over money that has been entrusted to one's care
: an instance of such failure compare embezzle, misappropriate NOTE: Defalcation does not necessarily involve culpability or misconduct.
2 : a failure to meet a promise or expectation [the school committee's s did not end with its refusal to submit a desegregation plan "S. L. Lynch"]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.