swin·​dle | \ˈswin-dᵊl \
swindled; swindling\ˈswin(d)-​liŋ, ˈswin-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of swindle 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to obtain money or property by fraud or deceit

transitive verb

: to take money or property from by fraud or deceit



Definition of swindle (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of swindling : fraud

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Other Words from swindle


swindler \ˈswin(d)-​lər, ˈswin-​dᵊl-​ər \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for swindle


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 swindle in a Sentence


hundreds of people were swindled out of their savings, and all they had to show for it were fake land deeds


a swindle that involved selling a lot of land that really didn't exist identity theft has become one of the most frequent and feared swindles of our time
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The embassy did not say how many fans had been swindled. Mike Ives, New York Times, "Chinese Fans Paid Dearly for World Cup Tickets That Never Materialized," 21 June 2018 Basically, Delvey, who was rarely seen without her oversized Celine glasses, successfully swindled some of the poshest New York City establishments by pretending to be rich. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "The Stories Of New York's Glamorous Grifters Are The Perfect Ocean's 8 Pregame," 1 June 2018 Gillian Neely and Youssif Kamal filed a 13-page complaint earlier this month against Eden Creamery LLC, accusing Halo Top’s parent company of swindling the American consumer. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Halo Top is 'dramatically' under-filling pints, lawsuit alleges," 27 June 2018 In July 2014, a Bexar County jury acquitted Cain of swindling Rackspace Hosting Inc. in a 2007 land deal. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Uresti’s co-defendant set to be sentenced," 27 June 2018 To give just one infuriating illustration, Twitter has until now failed to stem a torrent of fake accounts impersonating figures in and around the blockchain industry and trying to swindle users out of cryptocurrency. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Twitter’s Huge Purge of Fake Accounts Could Lead to Decline in User Numbers," 7 July 2018 She was accused on swindling a Clermont bank of $1,400, records show. Stephen Hudak, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Father whose son died in hit-and-run softened his harsh opinion of driver found dead," 18 June 2018 The manager of a Rite Aid on Route 106 in Mansfield played the hero May 14, apparently helping to prevent an elderly woman from getting swindled. Emily Sweeney, BostonGlobe.com, "Help! Your (fill in the blank) is in trouble," 8 June 2018 Would-be buyers have been swindled out of more than $54 million as of December 2017, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Washington Post, "Edmunds: How to avoid fraud when buying a car online," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These weren’t the only scalps claimed by the Bush Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress in investigating the high-profile corporate swindles of the late 1990s. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Jeff Skilling and a reminder that white-collar crime doesn’t have to pay," 4 Sep. 2018 To avoid being the victim of a swindle by fraudsters, senior citizens should heed the following tips. Erika Pesantes, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Seniors: Tips to avoid being scammed," 21 June 2018 But the sun and the swindles brought him to South Florida, which is now the backdrop for the latest chapter in the seemingly endless controversy over who may have have ripped off whom in the 2016 presidential election. David Smiley And Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Mystery Miamian tied to Trump probe had many names, foul mouth, 2 DUI busts," 19 June 2018 Modernism was a swindle – a dangerous lie perpetuated by Jews, communists, and even the insane to contaminate the body of German society. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "How the Brits Refuted Nazi Germany’s ‘Degenerate Art’ Exhibition," 13 June 2018 The internet is a global gathering of strangers and money, which means that a fraud, a trick, a swindle, a grift or a graft is obviously never far. Farhad Manjoo, New York Times, "Farhad’s Week in Tech: Bitcoin and the Scams Under Everything," 15 June 2018 Last year’s most lucrative swindle was the business email compromise (BEC), a sophisticated scam that targets people who regularly transfer large sums of money by wire or who write large checks. Sam Wood, Philly.com, "Cybercrime losses much greater in Philly and U.S. than FBI reports," 9 May 2018 Like many a Mamet play, the book explains grifts and swindles, and exposes rampant corruption. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Shakespeare's 'Hamlet,' 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' Announced For Summer," 24 Apr. 2018 The new payments bring the total paid out of the fund to $1.2 billion, a fraction of what regulators described as a $50 billion swindle when Mr. Madoff was arrested in 2008. Rob Copeland, WSJ, "Madoff Victims to Get New U.S. Government Payout," 12 Apr. 2018

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


circa 1782, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense


1821, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for swindle


back-formation from swindler, from German Schwindler giddy person, from schwindeln to be dizzy, from Old High German swintilōn, frequentative of swintan to diminish, vanish; akin to Old English swindan to vanish

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Learn More about swindle

Statistics for swindle

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swindle

The first known use of swindle was circa 1782

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More Definitions for swindle



English Language Learners Definition of swindle

: to take money or property from (someone) by using lies or tricks


swin·​dle | \ˈswin-dəl \
swindled; swindling

Kids Definition of swindle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to get money or property from dishonestly : cheat



Kids Definition of swindle (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or instance of getting money or property from someone dishonestly

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More from Merriam-Webster on swindle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with swindle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swindle

Spanish Central: Translation of swindle

Nglish: Translation of swindle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of swindle for Arabic Speakers

Comments on swindle

What made you want to look up swindle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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