\ ˈfrȯd \

Definition of fraud 

1a : deceit, trickery specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right was accused of credit card fraud

b : an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick automobile insurance frauds

2a : a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor He claimed to be a licensed psychologist, but he turned out to be a fraud. also : one who defrauds : cheat

b : one that is not what it seems or is represented to be The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.

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Choose the Right Synonym for fraud

deception, fraud, double-dealing, subterfuge, trickery mean the acts or practices of one who deliberately deceives. deception may or may not imply blameworthiness, since it may suggest cheating or merely tactical resource. magicians are masters of deception fraud always implies guilt and often criminality in act or practice. indicted for fraud double-dealing suggests treachery or at least action contrary to a professed attitude. a go-between suspected of double-dealing subterfuge suggests the adoption of a stratagem or the telling of a lie in order to escape guilt or to gain an end. obtained the papers by subterfuge trickery implies ingenious acts intended to dupe or cheat. resorted to trickery to gain their ends

imposture, fraud, sham, fake, humbug, counterfeit mean a thing made to seem other than it is. imposture applies to any situation in which a spurious object or performance is passed off as genuine. their claim of environmental concern is an imposture fraud usually implies a deliberate perversion of the truth. the diary was exposed as a fraud sham applies to fraudulent imitation of a real thing or action. condemned the election as a sham fake implies an imitation of or substitution for the genuine but does not necessarily imply dishonesty. these jewels are fakes; the real ones are in the vault humbug suggests elaborate pretense usually so flagrant as to be transparent. creating publicity by foisting humbugs on a gullible public counterfeit applies especially to the close imitation of something valuable. 20-dollar bills that were counterfeits

Examples of fraud in a Sentence

He was found guilty of bank fraud. He was the victim of an elaborate fraud. He claimed he was a licensed psychologist, but he turned out to be a fraud. The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Young, with the USDA, said this is the second time in recent months that investigators in North Carolina have investigated Recovery Connections for potential food stamp fraud. Amy Julia Harris And Shoshana Walter, charlotteobserver, "North Carolina rehab under investigation for food stamp fraud," 13 July 2018 Another had a conviction for fraud by impersonation and a record of driving under the influence. Nomaan Merchant,, "Hunger, fear, desperation: What came of an ordinary ICE raid in Covington," 9 July 2018 Judge has worked more than 275 fire scenes and found evidence that led to arrests and civil penalties for insurance fraud cases. Grant Suneson And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 25 most heroic dogs in America," 5 July 2018 Silvio Berlusconi, the Lazarus of Italian politics, returned to parliament in September 2019, after a ban relating to his conviction in a tax-fraud case expired. The Economist, "Breaking point: December 2020," 5 July 2018 Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who cosplayed as a black woman until she was busted, has been formally indicted for welfare fraud and had to report to the Spokane County jail on Monday for processing. Angela Helm, The Root, "Rachel Dolezal Booked and Released From Jail on Welfare Fraud Charges," 4 July 2018 Having lost his fight to have the bank- and tax-fraud case against him thrown out of federal court, Paul Manafort on Friday sought to have the financial records found in his condominium and storage unit tossed. Rachel Weiner,, "Paul Manafort fights use of financial records at trial," 29 June 2018 Though that argument has gained prominence in conservative circles, two federal judges have rejected it, including this week in the financial fraud case against Paul Manafort, the president’s former campaign chairman. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Ex-Aide to Roger Stone Is Subpoenaed in Russia Investigation," 28 June 2018 Auxier also has a warrant for identity theft in Mississippi and served prison time for fraud in Kentucky, police said. David Harris,, "Man on probation for scamming elderly woman gets prison for latest scheme in Apopka," 26 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fraud.' 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 fraud

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fraud

Middle English fraude, from Anglo-French, from Latin fraud-, fraus

Latin fraud-, fraus

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Statistics for fraud

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fraud

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

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More Definitions for fraud



English Language Learners Definition of fraud

: the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person

: a person who pretends to be what he or she is not in order to trick people

: a copy of something that is meant to look like the real thing in order to trick people


\ ˈfrȯd \

Kids Definition of fraud

1 : trickery, deceit They got the money by fraud.

2 : an act of deceiving : trick Investigators uncovered the fraud.

3 : a person who pretends to be what he or she is not You're not Santa Claus—you're a fraud.



Legal Definition of fraud 

1a : any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage specifically : a misrepresentation or concealment with reference to some fact material to a transaction that is made with knowledge of its falsity or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity and with the intent to deceive another and that is reasonably relied on by the other who is injured thereby

b : the affirmative defense of having acted in response to a fraud

2 : the crime or tort of committing fraud convicted of securities fraud — see also misrepresentation

Note: A tort action based on fraud is also referred to as an action of deceit.

actual fraud

: fraud committed with the actual intent to deceive and thereby injure another

called also fraud in fact

— compare constructive fraud in this entry

collateral fraud

: extrinsic fraud in this entry

constructive fraud

: conduct that is considered fraud under the law despite the absence of an intent to deceive because it has the same consequences as an actual fraud would have and it is against public interests (as because of the violation of a public or private trust or confidence, the breach of a fiduciary duty, or the use of undue influence)

called also legal fraud

— compare actual fraud in this entry

equitable fraud

: constructive fraud in this entry used especially in New Jersey

extrinsic fraud

: fraud (as that involved in making a false offer of compromise) that induces one not to present a case in court or deprives one of the opportunity to be heard also : fraud that is not involved in the actual issues presented to a court and that prevents a full and fair hearing

called also collateral fraud

— compare intrinsic fraud in this entry

fraud in fact

: actual fraud in this entry

fraud in law

: fraud that is presumed to have occurred in light of the circumstances irrespective of intent to deceive

fraud in the factum

: fraud in which the deception causes the other party to misunderstand the nature of the transaction in which he or she is engaging especially with regard to the contents of an instrument (as a contract or promissory note)

called also fraud in the execution

— compare fraud in the inducement in this entry

fraud in the inducement

: fraud in which the deception leads the other party to engage in a transaction the nature of which he or she understands — compare fraud in the factum in this entry

fraud on the court

: fraud involving conduct that undermines the integrity of the judicial process (as by improperly influencing a judge, jury, or other court personnel) also : extrinsic fraud in this entry

identity fraud

: the unauthorized use of anotherʼs means of identification (as name or social security number) to commit fraud

intrinsic fraud

: fraud (as by the use of false or forged documents, false claims, or perjured testimony) that deceives the trier of fact and results in a judgment in favor of the party perpetrating the fraud — compare extrinsic fraud in this entry

legal fraud

1 : constructive fraud in this entry

2 : actual fraud in this entry used especially in New Jersey

mail fraud

: fraud committed by use of the postal service especially as described in title 18 section 1341 of the U.S. Code

wire fraud

: fraud committed by using a means of electronic communication (as a telephone) — see also Wire Fraud Act

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Comments on fraud

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alleviating pain or harshness

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