Mulct

məlk(t)

Noun

  • A fine or compulsory payment.

Verb

  • Extract money from (someone) by fine or taxation.

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Example Sentences

“If you don’t pay the tax when you renew your license, a bill will be sent to mulct the payment.”

“The new mayor is going to mulct us next year over property taxes.”

“I owe a mulct on my library books because I forgot to return them last week.”

Word Origin

Latin, late 15th century

Why this word?

If you’ve ever heard the word “milk” used in the sense of “milking someone” for a payment or a fine, it’s likely the intended word was “mulct.” Both “milk” and “mulct” appear in the Oxford English Dictionary with virtually identical definitions related to extracting payment, but “mulct” is about 100 years older. It comes from the Latin word “mulcta,” which means “a fine”; “mulct” can be used as a noun to designate a fine, or as a verb for the action of extracting the payment. “Milk” is still used in modern casual language, but now you know that “mulct” was the original version.

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