• grift
  • audio pronunciation
  • \GRIFT\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
: to obtain (money) illicitly (as in a confidence game)
2
: to acquire money or property illicitly
  • EXAMPLES

John grifted much of his income by carrying out elaborate cons against unsuspecting tourists.

"Both victims lost substantial amounts of money, with one being grifted out of an astonishing $35,000.…" — From an article in SFist, September 6, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Grift" was born in the argot of the underworld, a realm in which a "grifter" might be a pickpocket, a crooked gambler, or a confidence man—any criminal who relied on skill and wits rather than physical violence—and to be "on the grift" was to make a living by stings and clever thefts. "Grift" may have evolved from "graft," a slightly older word meaning "to acquire dishonestly," but its exact origins are uncertain. We do know that the verb "grift" first finagled its way into print in 1915 in George Bronson-Howard's God's Man: "Grifting ain't what it used to be. Fourteenth Street's got protection down to a system—a regular underworld tariff on larceny."

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