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 Hodgkins faces charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and Young is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and destroying, altering or falsifying records in a federal investigation., "2 more Florida men charged in US Capitol insurrection," 19 Feb. 2021 Martinez faces 64 charges, including purportedly acting as an agent, tampering with a governmental record with intent to harm or defraud, and fraudulent use of a mail ballot application involving a voter 65 years of age or older. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas AG's office accuses Medina County official, three others of 'vote harvesting' in 2018 election," 19 Mar. 2021 Tommy Jue, of San Francisco, faces charges of grand theft, using a contractor’s license with intent to defraud, filing a false or forged instrument, forgery, and insurance fraud, according to the DA’s office. Vanessa Arredondo, San Francisco Chronicle, "San Francisco DA charges man accused of installing fire alarms without license," 9 Mar. 2021 Ahrens had a warrant for failing to comply with his probation terms for four previous theft convictions and convictions for scheme to defraud, tampering with evidence. Anchorage Daily News, "2 people arrested in connection to ‘massive amount of thefts’ at Mat-Su trailheads, troopers say," 1 Feb. 2021 The indictment places Dorothy Smith, a U.S. Coast Guard employee and credentialing specialist at the regional exam center on La. 22, at the center of an alleged scheme to defraud the government that ran from 2012 until 2019. John Simerman,, "Coast Guard test-fixing scheme nets 16 guilty pleas so far, U.S. Attorney says," 2 Feb. 2021 Without evidence, Trump has claimed for months that the rise in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic will defraud the election in favor of Biden. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Texan Gohmert is 1 of 5 House Republicans voting against resolution affirming peaceful transition of power," 30 Sep. 2020 Now, more than three years later, a federal grand jury has indicted Quiney Haroon Perdue, aka Quincey Perdue, and Mehvish Syed, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and theft/embezzlement. Carol Robinson |, al, "Man, woman indicted in ‘staged’ Birmingham bank robbery," 25 Feb. 2021 That lack of communication at the FAA came as Boeing employees were seeking to defraud the agency, the Justice Department said in January as part of a $2.5 billion settlement with the company. Washington Post, "FAA still needs to strengthen Boeing oversight after Max crashes, inspector general says," 24 Feb. 2021

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

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 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

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Comments on defraud

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