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

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.
defrauder 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Turner defrauded First Republic Bank of $100,000 or more on the same day, with Kingston’s aid, the warrant said. Devoun Cetoute, Miami Herald, 24 May 2024 Kingston, who was hospitalized in 2011 for a near-fatal jet ski crash, was sued in February for allegedly defrauding a Florida company that installed a 232-inch TV in his home. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for defraud 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'defraud.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near defraud

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​fraud di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio)
: to deprive of something by trickery, deception, or fraud
defrauder noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
de·​fraud di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio)
: to deprive of something by fraud
defrauder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on defraud

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