defraud

verb

de·​fraud di-ˈfrȯd How to pronounce defraud (audio)
dē-
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

Example Sentences

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 For example, Weisselberg pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud. Kevin Mccoy, USA TODAY, 1 Dec. 2022 Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified in court Thursday, describing how Donald Trump and two of his children allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud tax authorities. Graham Kates, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2022 The Trump Organization and a second family company, Trump Payroll Corp., are charged with criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records and filing false tax returns in a scheme to defraud the state. Nate Schweber, BostonGlobe.com, 31 Oct. 2022 She is found not guilty on three additional charges concerning defrauding patients and one charge of conspiracy to defraud patients. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 7 July 2022 At the heart of his trial is whether the government can prove that Mr. Balwani intended to defraud patients and investors with false claims about Theranos’s technology and business. New York Times, 22 Mar. 2022 The prosecution argued that the Trump Corp. and Trump Payroll Corp. schemed to defraud tax authorities. Nate Schweber, BostonGlobe.com, 31 Oct. 2022 Murdaugh has already admitted to asking Smith to arrange Murdaugh’s own death to defraud his life insurance company. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 25 Oct. 2022 Murdaugh has already admitted to asking Smith to arrange Murdaugh’s own death to defraud his life insurance company. Jeffrey Collins, Hartford Courant, 22 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defraud. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

defraud

verb

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

Legal Definition

defraud

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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