Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A penalty such as a fine.
  • transitive verb To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture.
  • transitive verb To take (something) from another person by means of unseemly or deceptive methods.
  • transitive verb To take something from (another) by means of unseemly or deceptive methods.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To punish by fine or forfeiture; deprive of some possession as a penalty; deprive: formerly with either the crime or the criminal as object, now only with the latter: followed by in or of before the thing: as, to mulct a person in $300; to mulct a person of something.
  • To punish, in general.
  • noun A fine or other penalty imposed on a person for some offense or misdemeanor, usually a pecuniary fine.
  • noun A blemish; a defect.
  • noun Synonyms Amercement, forfeit, forfeiture, penalty, fine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To punish for an offense or misdemeanor by imposing a fine or forfeiture, esp. a pecuniary fine; to fine.
  • transitive verb obsolete Hence, to deprive of; to withhold by way of punishment or discipline.
  • noun A fine or penalty, esp. a pecuniary punishment or penalty.
  • noun obsolete A blemish or defect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun law A fine or penalty, especially a pecuniary one.
  • verb To impose such a fine or penalty.
  • verb To swindle (someone) out of money.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb impose a fine on
  • verb deprive of by deceit
  • noun money extracted as a penalty

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English multen, to fine, from Latin multāre, mulctāre, from mulcta, fine.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin mulcta, from Proto-Italic.

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Examples

  • My remark was an epitogram -- an axis -- a kind of mulct'em in parvo.

    The Gentle Grafter

  • The American taxpayer was duped and mulct to little avail.

    Asher Edelman: Dexia (ONE BANK) $238.9 billion

  • Abd al-Rahman's textual reforms resulted in another version of widespread economic malaise, one with a coercive literati using innovative state documents and records to mulct merchants, extort office holders, and extract inordinate amounts of resources from the general population.

    Connecting Histories in Afghanistan: Market Relations and State Formation on a Colonial Frontier

  • From the Mirza title, it appears the Qandahar Police Chief may not have been relying on physical coercion as much as accountant-based or bookkeeping tactics to mulct the local merchant. back

    Connecting Histories in Afghanistan: Market Relations and State Formation on a Colonial Frontier

  • I wouldn't want ya ta get run over by a street-car. mulct Robinson for cash, and then exploit his painting hobby for more.

    princeofcairo: Film Fest In July

  • I wouldn't want ya ta get run over by a street-car. mulct Robinson for cash, and then exploit his painting hobby for more.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • As where a law exacteth a pecuniary mulct of them that take the name of God in vain, the payment of the mulct is not the price of a dispensation to swear, but the punishment of the transgression of a law indispensable.

    Leviathan

  • It is the act of the assembly because voted by the major part; and if it be a crime, the assembly may be punished, as far forth as it is capable, as by dissolution, or forfeiture of their letters (which is to such artificial and fictitious bodies, capital) or, if the assembly have a common stock, wherein none of the innocent members have propriety, by pecuniary mulct.

    Leviathan

  • If he come into debt by contract, or mulct, the case is the same.

    Leviathan

  • Thereupon I taught her that in every well-constituted city the citizens are not content merely to pass good laws, but they further choose them guardians of the laws,208 whose function as inspectors is to praise the man whose acts are law-abiding, or to mulct some other who offends against the law.

    Oeconomicus

Comments

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  • n.: A penalty such as a fine.

    tr.v.: To penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture. / To acquire by trickery or deception. / To defraud or swindle.

    (From Middle English multen, to fine, from Latin multre, mulctre, from mulcta, fine.)

    June 2, 2007

  • from the Ring and the Book.

    October 1, 2007

  • It is not "from" 'The Ring and The Book' -- it is actually a Roman legal concept: multare (to punish) > mulctare > Fr. mulcter > OE mulct.

    October 20, 2007

  • Thanks for these comments! This has to be one of the oldest, and weirdest, words I've ever come across. Learn something every day, I does...

    October 20, 2007

  • mulct and eleemosynary are among my favoritest words ever.

    October 20, 2007

  • Interesting that it means both to defraud and to fine. One could be mulcted for mulcting, I suppose.

    November 22, 2007

  • Verb multare with meaning 'to impose a fine' still exists in modern Italian.

    November 22, 2007

  • "A new purchase at some monster sale for which a gull has been mulcted. Meretricious finery to deceive the eye." Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    January 1, 2008

  • "'You must know that in their wisdom the Lords of the Admiralty have laid down that for the first six months of his commission no captain may presume to fire more shot a month than one third the number of his guns under various heavy mulcts and penalties; and after that only half as many.'" --Patrick O'Brian, The Ionian Mission, 73

    February 11, 2008

  • Ilove the word mulct.

    mulct mulct mulct mulct mulct

    mulcty mc mulcterson

    mulctmeister

    February 11, 2008

  • It is truly a plinthific word. :-)

    February 11, 2008

  • Egg-zackly, reesetee.

    I have a kind of a soft spot for mulciberian as well.

    February 11, 2008

  • "Monitor to note those who miss Lectures, and give their name to the Humanity Lecturer who shall punish them not by pecuniary mulcts but by tasks of making Verses, Themes, Epistles, or getting anything without book. All pecuniary mulcts of Undergraduates to be abolished, and Exercises, Admonitions, Recantations, and Expulsions (according to the nature of the crime) to succeed in their room."

    -- Isaac Newton, "Of Educating Youth in Universities"

    August 21, 2008

  • "...unless they are after great friends or pictures of pie, attempting to mulct me would be futile."

    May 11, 2011

  • The so-called magical diet cure simply ended up mulcting Maria out of hundreds of dollars, but did nothing for her weight.

    October 29, 2017