grifted; grifting; grifts

transitive verb

: to obtain (money or property) illicitly (as in a confidence game)

intransitive verb

: to acquire money or property illicitly
grift noun
grifter noun

Did you know?

A grifter might be a pickpocket, a crooked gambler, scammer, or a confidence man. Grift may have come from graft, a slightly older word meaning "to acquire dishonestly."

Examples of grift in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For The Walrus, reporter Rachel Browne writes to Patrice Runner, the Canadian king of mail order grift, a man whose persuasive direct-mail copy writing skills deceived vulnerable believers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Krista Stevens, Longreads, 27 July 2023 Free housing, free travel, endless opportunities to grift your gullible followers, all the Thousand Island dressing you could dream of. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 24 July 2023 Crypto’s massive potential has certainly been overshadowed recently by scams, grift, and speculation. Li Jin, Fortune Crypto, 18 Apr. 2023 Known for: passionate defense of global women; using White House position to grift for fashion brand until shuttering it in 2018 after slumping sales. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 27 Oct. 2021 Anna Sorokin, who posed as a German heiress named Anna Delvey to grift her way into a luxurious Manhattan lifestyle, has been released from prison this week after years of backlash for her famous SoHo scam. Erin Corbett,, 14 Feb. 2021 The coronavirus era has plainly shown how unprepared nursing homes were to deal with such a huge crisis, but equally how many of them are eager to grift and skim, even in the direst times. Libby Watson, The New Republic, 26 May 2020 From fancy little pens to fancy little snacks, report after report has emerged of Pruitt using his position and his influence to grift the hell out of taxpayers. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, 3 July 2018 If nothing else, McFarland’s utter commitment to grifting at just 26 years old is impressive. Jasmine Sanders, The Cut, 13 June 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'grift.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


grift, noun, perhaps alteration of graft

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of grift was in 1902


Dictionary Entries Near grift

Cite this Entry

“Grift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

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