bilk

verb
\ ˈbilk How to pronounce bilk (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 State prosecutors alleged Timmons and O'Malley used direct and indirect costs, inflated expense reports and false bills to bilk the state's low-income health care system out of at least $10.9 million over five years, from 2013 to 2018. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, 21 June 2021 The answer appears to be that, just as Wirecard simulated a global presence to bilk German investors, zu Guttenberg simulated worldliness to pull the wool over the eyes of German politicians, voters, and journalists. Adrian Daub, The New Republic, 21 Apr. 2021 But the call had come from Canada, with the money directed to a vacant home in Baltimore and intercepted by people working as part of a sophisticated network throughout North America to bilk seniors. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, 26 Mar. 2021 But one of his former victims worried that Erickson would continue to bilk people out of money. Stephen Groves, Star Tribune, 20 Jan. 2021 Paschal Ngozi Eleanya, 46, and Arael Doolittle, 55, allegedly attempted to bilk the foreign government, which the Justice Department did not name, out of more than $317 million. Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2020 Two Encino couples are facing federal charges for an alleged scheme to bilk more than $5.6 million out of COVID-19 economic relief programs, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2020 Conservative critics are blasting the likes of Amazon, Apple and Facebook for allegedly using monopoly power to bilk consumers. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 12 Aug. 2020 The resulting Justice Department probe produced 33 federal indictments, 22 guilty pleas and an admission by Francis that his company bilked the Navy of $35 million. Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2020 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, 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.

See More

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 and Noun

perhaps alteration of balk entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About bilk

Listen to Our Podcast About bilk

Dictionary Entries Near bilk

biliverdin

bilk

bill

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bilk

Cite this Entry

“Bilk.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bilk. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bilk

bilk

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bilk

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bilk

Nglish: Translation of bilk for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!