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 This is like having a Wall Street broker trading on inside information to self-identify intentions and suspicious transactions, or asking a con artist to make victims sign a terms of service agreement before they get swindled. Wired, "Opinion: California’s Anti-Deepfake Law Is Far Too Feeble," 5 Nov. 2019 The group convinced Segura to pay $1.2 million and ultimately swindled more than $900,000 from him, according to the indictment. oregonlive, "Lawyer found guilty of scamming more than $1 million from Colombian drug lords," 31 Oct. 2019 Lopez and Wu star in the true-crime drama as strippers who swindle wealthy Wall Street clientele. Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times, "Inside the ‘Hustlers’ premiere with Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu at the Toronto Film Festival," 8 Sep. 2019 The scammers — who swindle American citizens into sending money or divulging their bank account information — are well financed and capable of building armories to battle their competitors. Azam Ahmed, New York Times, "One Handgun, 9 Murders: How American Firearms Cause Carnage Abroad," 25 Aug. 2019 Mother and daughter con-artists try to swindle a cigarette tycoon, but things go wrong when one falls in love. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 But according to federal prosecutors, Mazai instead would take advantage of them, swindling their money. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Former Kalamazoo Diocese employee accused of scamming immigrants," 23 Aug. 2019 Hey, Tommy, join the club and get in line behind the hundreds of others who were swindled by league founder Charlie Ebersol. Mike Bianchi, orlandosentinel.com, "Magic absolutely, positively, definitely, doubtlessly must bring back Vooch! | Commentary," 28 June 2019 If two other boxers appeared in the ring, a ticket holder would have a viable argument that they had been swindled by a bait-and-switch. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Colts Would Win in Court vs. Fans Seeking Ticket Refunds Over Luck's Retirement," 26 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 To be sure, swindles occur all over the world, to every type of traveler. Andrea Sachs, Twin Cities, "10 common travel scams — and how to avoid them," 10 Aug. 2019 Telco fraudsters aren’t just bugging Americans with too-good-to-be-true deals and outright swindles. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Here's How the FCC's Aggressive New Plan to Combat Robocalls Will Work," 14 June 2019 Christopher Paul Seiple, 48, of New Brighton, was charged by summons with four counts of theft by swindle in connection with the theft of $33,000 from November 2018 to May of this year, according to a statement from Backstrom’s office. Kristi Belcamino, Twin Cities, "Mendota church employee swindled $33,000, authorities say," 15 Aug. 2019 Our latest edition includes notes on the the latest Astros trade swindle, the Braves’ troubling addition and yet another unexpected star in the Bronx. Michael Shapiro, SI.com, "Were We Wrong About the Mets?," 6 Aug. 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

17 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Swindle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/swindled. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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

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