1 literary, historical That which is allocated to a particular individual; a private or exclusive possession; (also) the particular concern of an individual. Also figurative.
2 historical The property which a paterfamilias allowed a member of his family, or a master allowed his slave, to hold and administer, and, within limits, to alienate, as though it were his or her own.
Early 17th century. From classical Latin pecūlium money or property managed by a person incapable of legal ownership, private property, in post-classical Latin also the people of God from pecū flock, herd, (plural) farm animals, occasionally also money + a suffix of uncertain origin.