ill-got·​ten ˈil-ˈgä-tᵊn How to pronounce ill-gotten (audio)
: acquired by illicit or improper means
ill-gotten gains

Examples of ill-gotten in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web MacLean and Taylor resold their ill-gotten remains to Pauley. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 15 June 2023 Amy closes a big business deal — selling her company Koyohaus to Jordan Forster (Maria Bello), the owner of a big-box store chain — and Danny finds the resources, though ill-gotten, to reenergize his construction company. Erin Qualey, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2023 That climate also has bred a reputation as a secret haven of billions in ill-gotten or laundered money, with the Tax Justice Network ranking Switzerland second only to the U.S. in financial secrecy. Jamey Keaten, ajc, 1 Apr. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1552, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ill-gotten was in 1552

Dictionary Entries Near ill-gotten

Cite this Entry

“Ill-gotten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to get by unlawful or improper means
ill-gotten wealth
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