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

The man was not swindled out of money, but his children were concerned about someone applying for loans under his name. cleveland.com, "Customer says brother en route from Kansas will pay for dinner: Middleburg Heights Police Blotter," 8 July 2019 Torcellini manages to make the swindling Bialystock a rather sympathetic character and Raben’s performance as the mousy, blanket-dependent (think Peanuts’ Linus) accountant is believable. Pomerado News, "REVIEW: Moonlight’s ‘The Producers’ is intentionally-offensive comedy," 19 June 2019 The agency said 16 Michigan residents fell victim to Robling’s estate sale racketeering scheme and were swindled out of thousands of dollars between 2015 and 2017. Dixita Limbachia, Detroit Free Press, "Center Line man accused of bilking estate sale clients pleads guilty," 7 June 2019 The partners swindled hundreds of wealthy investors: retirees, small-business owners, bankers, lawyers and doctors into paying millions for fake consumer debt portfolios over the years. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Texas businessman and partner of Towson millionaire pleads guilty in lucrative Ponzi scheme," 6 June 2019 According to a criminal complaint filed in January in Dakota County District Court, the 53-year-old Vang has been accused of swindling $160,000 from individuals in the county from February to September 2016. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "Cha Vang, son of late Hmong leader, charged with felony theft in gold-selling scheme," 3 June 2019 For years, Sorokin allegedly conned herself into New York City's elite social circles, swindling the rich into comping her lavish lifestyle. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, ""Soho Grifter" Anna Sorokin Enlisted a Stylist for Her Courtroom Look," 28 Mar. 2019 Besides the grandchild scam, there are romance or online dating schemes in which victims are deceived into online relationships before being swindled out of their savings. Yuka Hayashi, WSJ, "Scamming Grandma: Financial Abuse of Seniors Hits Record," 24 Jan. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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

14 Jul 2019

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 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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