bilk

verb
\ˈbilk \
bilked; bilking; bilks

Definition of bilk 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to block the free development of : frustrate fate bilks their hopes

2a : to cheat out of something valuable : defraud bilking investors out of their life savings

b : to evade payment of or to bilks his creditors

c : to obtain (something) by defrauding someone The Tampa couple sent out phony sonograms and bilked money from couples wanting children, authorities say.— Brady Dennis

3 : to slip away from bilked her pursuers

bilk

noun

Definition of bilk (Entry 2 of 2)

: an untrustworthy tricky individual : cheat

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Other Words from bilk

Verb

bilker noun

Did You Know?

Verb

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."

Examples of bilk in a Sentence

Verb

an investigation revealed that the garage had been bilking motorists for repairs that had never been made

Noun

people who lost money in the scheme discovered that the investment company was a fake and the “owner” just a bilk

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Prosecutors allege Pam bilked the estates of most of the proceeds from the sale of the Sanford Street home by arranging a sham transaction in which his then-girlfriend, Jasmin Deangelo, purportedly purchased the property for $140,000 in April 2015. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "Pam family members go on trial for allegedly scamming elderly siblings out of Mattapan home," 13 July 2018 The government, under the inattentive care of Democrats, may have been bilked for ages by a man the FBI has alleged to be a fraudster. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "The Scandal That Matters," 3 Aug. 2017 In 2014, a contractor working on his house, Noel Muir, bilked him out of nearly all of the $500,000 that Mr. Taylor had received for the Kyoto Prize; Mr. Muir was sentenced to one to three years in prison. Ben Ratliff, New York Times, "Cecil Taylor, Pianist Who Defied Jazz Orthodoxy, Is Dead at 89," 6 Apr. 2018 Tens of millions of people are ensnared in these pyramid schemes that use cult-like techniques to brainwash their targets and bilk them out of their money. The Economist, "A multi-level scourgePyramid schemes cause huge social harm in China," 3 Feb. 2018 Some Jamaicans see little wrong with bilking Americans. The Economist, "Bad vybzIn Jamaica’s tourist hub, a state of emergency," 25 Jan. 2018 Absent getting caught, Moody said Downs would have continued on bilking Lake County taxpayers. Craig Lyons, Post-Tribune, "Co-defendants of former Sheriff Buncich get probation for roles in bribery scheme," 9 July 2018 The President has complained that Canada's trade policies have bilked US farmers and dairymen. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "North America feels divided on everything but the World Cup," 13 June 2018 The co-owner and a manager of a Findlay Market stand have been charged with bilking the government out of $3.4 million through a food stamp fraud scheme that dates back eight years. Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati.com, "Findlay Market vendor charged in $3.4 million food stamp fraud scheme," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And, despite its super hinky backstory, a bronze behemoth of bilk is taking shape in Everett. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "Is gambling here to stay?," 17 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of bilk

Verb

1641, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

1777, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bilk

Verb

perhaps alteration of balk entry 2

Noun

see bilk entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near bilk

biliterate

bilith

biliverdin

bilk

bill

billabong

bill and coo

Statistics for bilk

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bilk

The first known use of bilk was in 1641

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More Definitions for bilk

bilk

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bilk

: to cheat or trick (a person or organization) especially by taking money

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Comments on bilk

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