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 In 2018, Watkins was indicted on federal fraud charges, for a multi-million dollar scheme that involved defrauding people such as former NBA star Charles Barkley. Mary Colurso |, al, "Richard Scrushy gets his day in court (again!) on Netflix’s ‘Trial by Media’," 14 May 2020 The California lawsuit was brought by a relatively small Alabama firm that uses its website to appeal to consumers who think they have been defrauded. New York Times, "Are You Paying Extra for Eggs? Lawsuits Accuse Producers of Price Gouging," 6 May 2020 HotChalk on Friday sued Concordia and its parent operation, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, claiming it was defrauded. oregonlive, "Online education firm sues Concordia University parent for $302 million, claims it was defrauded," 18 Apr. 2020 The government wants to introduce two new wire fraud counts relating to a doctor and a patient who were allegedly defrauded by Theranos’s testing. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Pandemic will delay blockbuster trial of ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes," 15 Apr. 2020 Police were contacted March 6 by the woman’s financial power of attorney who informed them that the 63-year-old woman had been defrauded of more than $31,000, according to a police report. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A South Milwaukee woman lost more than $31,000 to a phone scammer who told her she won the lottery, police say," 27 Mar. 2020 Students who claim they were defrauded by their schools could apply to have their college debt forgiven, potentially helping thousands of students, Klobuchar's site says. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Election 2020: How Trump, Democratic candidates could impact college debt, family finances," 26 Feb. 2020 Yes, inviting management punishment is anathema for any union, but ultimately a union serves the interests of its members, some of whom feel defrauded by the Astros. Globe Staff,, "Is Rob Manfred more likely to punish the Red Sox simply to save face?," 20 Feb. 2020 The prosecution will still be able to argue at trial that patients who either paid in full or paid a co-pay for a blood test were allegedly defrauded. Taylor Dunn, ABC News, "Judge partially dismisses some criminal charges against Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes," 12 Feb. 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

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 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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More from Merriam-Webster on defraud

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defraud

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defraud

Spanish Central: Translation of defraud

Nglish: Translation of defraud for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defraud for Arabic Speakers

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