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.

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Shalash attempted to defraud eight victims in five states out of a total of $3.48 million and successfully defrauding five victims in four states out of a total of $1.77 million, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court. Quinlan Bentley, The Enquirer, 1 Dec. 2021 But the family had no idea that, just before Shane McConkey’s death, Glenn’s attorney, Calvin Curtis, had apparently started scheming to defraud Glenn out of millions of dollars, according to the Department of Justice. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Nov. 2021 Alongside the romance scam, MgBodile ran multiple business email compromise (BEC) scams that attempted to defraud companies out of more than $1 million, Erskine said. Henri Hollis, ajc, 19 Nov. 2021 Manus, a volunteer for Bradley’s campaign, was accused of conspiring with the lawmaker and Martinez between March and October 2018 to defraud the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission, Citizens’ Election Fund and state of Connecticut. Stephen Singer,, 20 Oct. 2021 The two are accused of devising a scheme in December 2017 to defraud the state by having a company bill the Office of AIDS for their personal expenses, including sporting events, concerts, restaurants and travel. Justin Ray, Los Angeles Times, 20 Oct. 2021 The pandemic inspired new twists to the stories that scammers typically use to defraud their victims. Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2021 Boeing was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the FAA. Doug Cameron, WSJ, 16 Oct. 2021 Staveley and Butziger were the first people in the nation to be charged with trying to defraud the CARES Act SBA Paycheck Protection Program. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, 8 Oct. 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.

See More

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

Learn More About defraud

Time Traveler for defraud

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near defraud




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for defraud

Last Updated

4 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defraud.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

More from Merriam-Webster on defraud

Nglish: Translation of defraud for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defraud for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!