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


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

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 Last month, DJ Spinderella filed a suit against her two groupmates Salt-N-Pepa, stating she was swindled out of compensation all the way back to 1999. Paula Rogo, Essence, "Judge Orders Salt-N-Pepa And DJ Spinderella To Mediation Over Royalties Dispute," 3 Aug. 2019 Later, in the 1870s, another notorious scoundrel, Orville Babcock — whom President Ulysses Grant couldn’t bring himself to get rid of — repeatedly swindled the Treasury of tax revenue. James M. Banner Jr., Time, "Corruption, Cover-Ups and the Shocking Presidential History to Remember as Robert Mueller Testifies," 22 July 2019 In their latest statement, police said the 43-year-old man, surnamed Liang, and the 45-year-old woman, surnamed Xie, had been swindling money from family and friends for years, and ran out of cash after traveling extensively across China. Steven Jiang, CNN, "Missing 9-year-old girl, whose disappearance gripped China, found dead," 15 July 2019 The two men swindled investors around the country in an elaborate Ponzi scheme, duping as many as 230 people, federal prosecutors say. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Looking to splurge on a Towson Ponzi-schemer’s bounty? Mansions, sports cars, even comics up for sale.," 23 July 2019 In 1999, prosecutors called him something else: a criminal, for swindling Japanese corporate investors. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Cult economist jailed for hiding rare coins says the coins are his now," 13 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Some of those who were contacted in the swindle told a French documentary series that the Skype-calls were made to be short, with a poor Internet connection being blamed for the brevity. Washington Post, "How scammers used a silicone mask and Skype to impersonate a French minister and steal $90 million," 21 June 2019 Some of those who were contacted in the swindle told a French documentary series that the Skype calls were made to be short, with a poor Internet connection being blamed for the brevity. BostonGlobe.com, "How scammers used a silicone mask and Skype to impersonate a French minister and steal $90 million," 20 June 2019 My own corollary is that more money has been lost reaching for tax advantages than all the stock swindles in history. WSJ, "Securities Buyers Beware of Mad Muni-Bond Mania," 11 Apr. 2019 In January, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission shut down My Big Coin, a purported swindle that had attracted $6 million. Nathaniel Popper, New York Times, "As Bitcoin Bubble Loses Air, Frauds and Flaws Rise to Surface," 5 Feb. 2018 Earlier this year, The New York Times highlighted how scammers posed as Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook to swindle users out of money. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Facebook imposters are trying to swindle users out of bitcoin," 18 Dec. 2018 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

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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Statistics for swindle

Last Updated

22 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for swindle

The first known use of swindle was in 1773

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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 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

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

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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