Definition of bilk
- fate bilks their hopes
- bilking investors out of their life savings
- bilks his creditors
- The Tampa couple sent out phony sonograms and bilked money from couples wanting children, authorities say.
- —Brady Dennis
- bilked her pursuers
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an investigation revealed that the garage had been bilking motorists for repairs that had never been made
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bilk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Initially, "bilking" wasn't considered cheating-just good strategy for cribbage players. Language historians aren't sure where "bilk" originated, but they have noticed that its earliest uses occur in contexts referring to cribbage. Part of the scoring in cribbage involves each player adding cards from his or her hand to a pile of discards called the "crib." At the end of a hand, the dealer gets any points in the crib. Strategically, then, it's wisest for the dealer's opponent to discard non-scoring cards-the ones most likely to "balk," or put a check on, the dealer's score. Etymologists theorize that "bilk" may have originated as an alteration of that card-game "balk."
beat, bleed, cheat, chisel, con, cozen, defraud, do, do in, fiddle, fleece, flimflam, gaff, gyp, hustle, mulct, pluck, ream, rip off, rook, screw, shake down, short, shortchange, skin, squeeze, stick, stiff, sting, swindle, victimize;
sell a bill of goods to, take for a ride, take to the cleaners;
people who lost money in the scheme discovered that the investment company was a fake and the “owner” just a bilk
: to cheat or trick (a person or organization) especially by taking money
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