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 defrauder (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 So agents arrested two of his adult sons, Jonathan and Jordan, and charged them with conspiring to defraud consumers by manufacturing and distributing a misbranded drug. Michael Braga, USA TODAY, "'You have no authority over us': Church leader, sons jailed for insisting chemical's power to heal trumps laws of the state," 5 Sep. 2020 The student faces one felony count of using a computer to defraud and one misdemeanor account of interfering with an educational institution. Washington Post, "National Digest: 16-year-old arrested in connection with cyberattacks on Miami schools," 3 Sep. 2020 Soon, Franco Netto found himself behind bars, under suspicion of aiding a scheme to defraud the government by manipulating the award of a funding contract for a public health research project. Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Science | AAAS, "Massive fraud investigation targets prominent Brazilian health researcher," 1 Sep. 2020 All that and more, law enforcement officials said, was financed through schemes to defraud the federal government’s signature coronavirus relief program for small businesses. Stacy Cowley, New York Times, "Spotting $62 Million in Alleged P.P.P. Fraud Was the Easy Part," 28 Aug. 2020 In March, Stone was indicted on charges of scheming to defraud, theft and misapplication of property. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Alaska state trooper stole $20,000 in cash and goods from evidence facility, investigators say," 25 Aug. 2020 Beginning in about 2016, Walters launched a scheme to defraud the system. Carol Robinson |, al, "Ex-assistant principal at Montgomery HS pleads guilty to defrauding system of more than $250,000," 18 Aug. 2020 She is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false statements to U.S. and Polish officials. John Caniglia, cleveland, "Owner of Strongsville agency, employees charged with conspiracy in foreign adoption cases," 14 Aug. 2020 The same day, Mark Grenon and his three adult sons Jonathan, Jordan, and Joseph Grenon were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and criminal contempt. Sarah Midkiff,, "Two Florida Men Were Arrested For Selling A Deadly COVID-19 “Cure”," 12 Aug. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for defraud

Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for defraud


How to pronounce defraud (audio)

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.
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

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