Definition of grift in English:



[NO OBJECT]North American
  • Engage in petty or small-scale swindling:

    ‘how long have you been grifting?’
    • ‘The #1 rule of grifting is to con the mark in such a way that they don't want to turn you in.’
    • ‘The writer is more interested in the hype and glamour of grifting then in knowing anything about the reality.’
    • ‘His exceptional skills at grifting combined with his good looks have allowed him to believe that he can con anybody.’
    • ‘Frank Gorshin and Shirley Jones play a con artist couple who have gambled and grifted their way into the good life.’
    • ‘Sooner rather than later, Gus' funds begin to run out, so he begins grifting for money.’
    • ‘There's a lot of grifting online from people who are not really who they claim to be.’


North American
  • A petty or small-scale swindle:

    ‘a Sixth Avenue palmistry grift’
    • ‘Juan gets caught trying to pull the same grift twice in a convenience store.’
    • ‘The crooked network, centered in New York City, Chicago and Atlanta, reportedly used several grifts.’
    • ‘At first you think there's some sort of grift going on, a con of some sort, which McConaughey is going to have to figure out.’
    • ‘Because it's basically like a film noir grifter gangster story and Ed's the leader of a con team and they do this complicated grift.’
    • ‘The challenge of unpredictable variables, as a matter of fact, is what makes a grift fun.’
    • ‘And Martha discovers that there is a dear price to pay for buying into a world of grifts, scams, and dishonesty.’
    • ‘Back when salesmen were viewed as barely employable con men working some sort of semi-legal grift, the profession was populated almost entirely with drunks.’
    • ‘A few of his old backers, Richard Perle, Michael Rubin, still remain on the team, but it's pretty clear that for most of his former friends, that the grift is over.’
    • ‘Matchstick Men follows the lives of Roy, a veteran of the grift, and his ambitious protégé, Frank.’
    • ‘Because the movie is too lazy to set up some grifts, Reilly and Luna are established as out-and-out thieves.’
    • ‘Today's favorite grift, he says, is offshore money laundering.’
    • ‘Only when Ann Merai and her husband - along with the hundreds of thousands of dollars - go up in smoke, does Matt realize that he's been entangled in an elaborate grift, where every single clue winds up pointing towards him.’
    sham, fraud, pretence, imposture, hoax, fake, misrepresentation, blind, wile, artifice, trojan horse
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Early 20th century: alteration of graft.