1 : the act or an instance of embezzling
2 : a failure to meet a promise or an expectation
The more archaic definition of DEFALCATION implied a more general sense of curtailment, a swindling of time, money, a cutting short, a shaving off, a diminishing. A skimming off the top. An implication of something not being noticed or not being missed. An extra two minutes added to the end of a ten minute break. A bite of Josh's chocolate chip pancakes. Swiping two dimes left on the coffee table although I know they aren't mine because I'm aware of the location of all my change. Crossing the street without a signal when cars are fast approaching, thinking nothing but, they can wait, robbing them of their right-of-way. Asking for a splash or a warm-up, instead of a refill. The notion that removing a small portion from a huge quantity of something is acceptable since, naturally, it will go unnoticed—a cup of milk, a handful of cereal, a few moments of time. In the grand scheme, I think, it matters little. But in the small scheme, the scheme hardly considered, the trees and not the forest, those two dimes make such a difference. Those two dimes are a tip, an act of generosity, the relief of not having to break another dollar. It's these little things, these insignificant DEFALCATIONS that mean nothing to anyone. But somehow they shine in my mind, they weave through my day—minute measures that bring me some more peace of mind.