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[bilk] /bɪlk/
verb (used with object)
to defraud; cheat:
He bilked the government of almost a million dollars.
to evade payment of (a debt).
to frustrate:
a career bilked by poor health.
to escape from; elude:
to bilk one's pursuers.
a cheat; swindler.
a trick; fraud; deceit.
Origin of bilk
1625-35; of obscure origin
Related forms
bilker, noun
1. swindle, trick, dupe, fleece, rook. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bilk
  • Others are sent in an attempt to bilk money from people to damage reputations.
  • So many people bilk the system or their employers or whomever and never get reviewed.
  • Suppliers gamble the rewards from future commerce for a short-term gain when they bilk their customers.
  • Until recently, defrauders tried to bilk homeowners out of the equity in their homes.
  • The incentives were more complex than to bilk shareholders by betting the ranch every time.
  • Some local officials who used regulations to bilk the public have been dealt with harshly.
  • The evidence overwhelmingly suggests that she was overtly complicit in his scheme to bilk billions from unsuspecting investors.
  • The existence of the placebo effect does not justify the action of using it to bilk the public.
  • Stings and swindles involve the use of deception to bilk people out of their money.
  • The defendant established several shell corporations to bilk a county for water well capacity rights.
British Dictionary definitions for bilk


verb (transitive)
to balk; thwart
(often foll by of) to cheat or deceive, esp to avoid making payment to
to escape from; elude
(cribbage) to play a card that hinders (one's opponent) from scoring in his or her crib
a swindle or cheat
a person who swindles or cheats
Derived Forms
bilker, noun
Word Origin
C17: perhaps variant of balk
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bilk

1650s, from or along with the noun (1630s), first used as a cribbage term; as a verb, "to spoil (someone's) score." Origin obscure, it was believed in 17c. to be "a word signifying nothing;" perhaps it s a thinned form of balk "to hinder." Meaning "to defraud" is first recorded 1670s. Related: Bilked; bilking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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