de·​fraud | \ di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio) , dē- \
defrauded; defrauding; defrauds

Definition of defraud

transitive verb

: to deprive of something by deception or fraud trying to defraud the public Investors in the scheme were defrauded of their life savings.

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Other Words from defraud

defrauder \ di-​ˈfrȯ-​dər How to pronounce defraud (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for defraud

cheat, cozen, defraud, swindle mean to get something by dishonesty or deception. cheat suggests using trickery that escapes observation. cheated me out of a dollar cozen implies artful persuading or flattering to attain a thing or a purpose. always able to cozen her grandfather out of a few dollars defraud stresses depriving one of his or her rights and usually connotes deliberate perversion of the truth. defrauded of her inheritance by an unscrupulous lawyer swindle implies large-scale cheating by misrepresentation or abuse of confidence. swindled of their savings by con artists

Examples of defraud in a Sentence

They were accused of trying to defraud the public. They conspired to defraud the government. She was convicted of writing bad checks with intent to defraud.
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Recent Examples on the Web Vakalis faces six felony counts, including scheme to defraud, first-degree theft and two counts each of falsifying business records and fraudulent use of an access device or identification document. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Aug. 2021 They were charged with a scheme to defraud, conspiracy, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records. Kara Scannell, CNN, 11 Aug. 2021 What is difficult to prove is whether these actions were an intentional conduct, and they were designed to deceive or defraud investors by controlling or artificially affecting the price of securities. Esade Business & Law School, Forbes, 10 June 2021 Gary Cain, who three years ago was convicted with ex-state Sen. Carlos Uresti in a scheme to defraud investors, has asked a judge for his release from federal prison. San Antonio Express-News, 23 Mar. 2021 The organization is charged with criminal tax fraud and scheming to defraud the government. Los Angeles Times, 2 July 2021 Gharony allegedly used his position to defraud the department’s fleet management division over a three year period, starting in June, 2017, prosecutors said in a statement., 31 July 2021 New York federal prosecutors have charged Trevor Milton, the founder of the electric truck company Nikola, with engaging in an audacious scheme to defraud investors, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday. NBC News, 29 July 2021 The first charge is for first-degree scheme to defraud; the second is an election law offense for illegally coordinating activities and expenditures. Editors, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defraud.' 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 defraud

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for defraud

Middle English, from Anglo-French defrauder, from Latin defraudare, from de- + fraudare to cheat, from fraud-, fraus fraud

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Time Traveler for defraud

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The first known use of defraud was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for defraud



English Language Learners Definition of defraud

: to trick or cheat someone or something in order to get money : to use fraud in order to get money from a person, an organization, etc.


de·​fraud | \ di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio) \
defrauded; defrauding

Kids Definition of defraud

: to trick or cheat someone in order to get money They were accused of defrauding customers.


transitive verb
de·​fraud | \ di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio) \

Legal Definition of defraud

: to deprive of something by fraud

Other Words from defraud

defrauder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on defraud

Nglish: Translation of defraud for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defraud for Arabic Speakers


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