swin·​dle | \ ˈswin-dᵊl How to pronounce swindle (audio) \
swindled; swindling\ ˈswin(d)-​liŋ How to pronounce swindling (audio) , 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 How to pronounce swindler (audio) , 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

Verb hundreds of people were swindled out of their savings, and all they had to show for it were fake land deeds Noun 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 All rules have apparently been set aside at the ranch, but Cliff nevertheless seeks to uphold the principle of property rights by ensuring that the owner of the ranch, George Spahn, is still alive and not being swindled by the hippie chicks. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Shocking Right-Wing Tinge of Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood," 13 Dec. 2019 Streep's got the showiest role as a widow who helps upend the scheme after she's swindled out of millions. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "As Venice Jump-Starts Festival Season, ‘Joker’ and the ‘Laundromat’ Are Among the Week’s Buzziest Trailers," 28 Aug. 2019 Brogdon, who is licensed to operate homes in Hazen and Lonoke, is under federal court order to repay more than $80 million to investors, whom a federal watchdog accused him of swindling in nursing home deals. Kat Stromquist, Arkansas Online, "Nursing homes hustle to move out 60 residents," 8 Dec. 2019 Authorities accused Petersen and Jennet of swindling AHCCCS out of more than $800,000. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "Paul Petersen released from federal custody; headed to court in Arizona, Utah," 29 Oct. 2019 This year, the fake heiress Anna Delvey, tried and convicted for swindling New York high society, sported a black turtleneck in court. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "The woke shopper’s one-item Zen gift guide," 23 Nov. 2019 Bong wants his politics both ways: targeting and humiliating the wealthy, high-living entrepreneurs while sentimentalizing and sympathizing with the dishonest, corrupt agitators who angle to swindle them. Armond White, National Review, "Parasite: Antifa Comedy for the Cancel-Culture Era," 11 Oct. 2019 Kevin Merrill, 54, admitted to swindling investors from as far away as Singapore in a sophisticated, six-year cheat. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Wife of Towson Ponzi schemer admits she tried to hide his cash from courts as lavish lifestyle crumbled," 9 Oct. 2019 Prosecutors charged that George swindled 17 investors out of $2.55 million in a Ponzi scheme before he was arrested and convicted by a federal jury on four felony counts. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Athletes seek compensation like UConn legend Tate George," 8 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Christopher Paul Seiple, 48, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of theft by swindle Wednesday in connection with the theft from November 2018 to May of this year at St. Peter’s, the oldest Catholic church in Minnesota. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "New Brighton man admits stealing from Mendota church to buy lottery tickets," 12 Dec. 2019 De Angelis was eventually caught after taking loans from more than 50 companies and the reveal of his swindle nearly crippled the New York Stock Exchange. Aaliyah Gibson, chicagotribune.com, "Scams and shams: The biggest frauds in business," 1 Nov. 2019 The great college-admissions swindle—the scheme of bribery and fraud exposed, in March, by a federal investigation named Operation Varsity Blues—is, of course, a story for the ages. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "A Lifetime Movie Nails the College-Admissions Scandal," 10 Oct. 2019 It’s loosely based on a true story, chronicled in a 2015 New York magazine article, and set in the years after the 2008 financial crisis — when far greater, white-collar swindles went largely unprosecuted. Washington Post, "In ‘Hustlers,’ Jennifer Lopez steals money, and the show," 10 Sep. 2019 Ethel Reyes, 27, of Burnsville was charged with four counts of theft by swindle. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "Eleven face 50 felony theft charges after state uncovers Medicaid fraud schemes," 27 Sep. 2019 Misinformation is as old as money, and the history of finance is littered with examples of swindles and cons. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Why crypto hoaxes are so successful," 26 Sep. 2019 The quid pro quo relationship between Aequitas and a handful of investment advisory firms across the country emerged as one of the particularly egregious aspects of the Aequitas swindle. oregonlive.com, "SEC: Gig Harbor investment advisor secretly in cahoots with Aequitas banned from investment business," 26 July 2019 Though the legal and emotional toll of the duo’s swindle eventually wears on them, their connection is genuine, as are the relationships between the rest of the movie’s ensemble. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Welcome Rise of the Stripper Ensemble Film," 12 Sep. 2019

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


1773, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


1778, 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

Time Traveler for swindle

Time Traveler

The first known use of swindle was in 1773

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Statistics for swindle

Last Updated

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Swindle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swindle. Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for swindle


How to pronounce swindle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of swindle

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


swin·​dle | \ ˈswin-dəl How to pronounce swindle (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for swindle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


dull or mediocre

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