Definition of swindle in English:



  • 1 Use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions.

    ‘a businessman swindled investors out of millions of dollars’
    • ‘It quickly becomes evident this blind man is far from helpless, as he proceeds to swindle the gangsters out of all their money.’
    • ‘I admit I live by my wits a lot, but I don't use them to swindle people.’
    • ‘I bought this system from you believing you to be a reputable firm and I can plainly see you've swindled me out of my money’
    • ‘She swindled eight people out of $111,000 in cash and jewelry before she was stopped.’
    • ‘He failed not simply because he was swindled, but also because he was stupid.’
    • ‘If that does not happen, unscrupulous traders will rush into villages and swindle desperate peasant farmers of their hard-earned crop.’
    • ‘In 1989 he pleaded guilty to 55 counts of fraud, allegedly swindling elderly victims in Virginia and Tennessee out of around $1.25 million.’
    • ‘It's estimated that patients were swindled out of some $12,750,000 from August / 96 to February / 03.’
    • ‘The so-called ‘phishing’ scams have developed as a popular technique for fraudsters to swindle people out of everything from PayPal accounts to ATM codes.’
    • ‘The group is suspected of having swindled each customer out of about 50,000 yen in such fees.’
    • ‘I don't condone cheats and con artists who swindle innocent victims out of their hard-earned cash.’
    • ‘While these men were not above occasionally swindling other working-class people, for the most part their actions were directed at the region's elites.’
    • ‘I felt sorry for those poor desperate people being swindled in such a way.’
    • ‘Sometimes, the employers will even attempt to swindle their potential employees.’
    • ‘Most victims were swindled into paying €3,000 or more.’
    • ‘The Government has pledged to crack down on unscrupulous doorstep salesmen who swindle vulnerable pensioners out of thousands of pounds.’
    • ‘Then we hear about widespread accounting malpractices, even in giant corporations, and start to wonder if this is not a huge conspiracy to swindle us out of our money.’
    • ‘A serial conman who swindled victims out of more than £1million told a judge that he blew £64,000 on exotic foreign holidays.’
    • ‘In fact, he has swindled his own family by managing to become the sole inheritor of their grandparents' estate.’
    • ‘For example, if I find a way of legally swindling you out of a lot of money, I cannot claim that my action is morally acceptable just because it is legal.’
    1. 1.1Obtain (money) fraudulently.
      ‘he was said to have swindled $62.5 million from the pension fund’
      • ‘He was sentenced by a state judge to seven and a half years for swindling $650 million from investors who bought stock through his New York brokerage.’
      • ‘In 2001, a few newspapers carried stories on local securities firms swindling money from investors but soon all fell silent.’
      • ‘This performance of theirs was just a ploy to swindle a few dollars out of travelers and adventurers and nothing more.’
      • ‘That was the case in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where scam artists swindled more than $1.5 million from their victims.’
      • ‘He is also facing charges of embezzling a compensation fund for war victims and is being investigated for swindling a veterans' trust fund.’
      • ‘He allegedly swindled funds meant for building a culvert and a school.’
      • ‘In both cases he's arguably signed contracts with the intention to swindle money.’
      • ‘Those who swindle money in banks are like parasites.’
      • ‘He uses Moliere's play to make a film inside a film about hypocrisy (specifically swindling money from wealthy people using a disguise).’
      • ‘Discarded papers found by bag-raiders can be used to swindle millions of pounds a year from bank accounts in identity and credit fraud.’
      • ‘A former headteacher who swindled £500,000 from school funds was led from her home by paramedics after failing to appear in court to be sentenced.’
      • ‘A head teacher accused of being in a plot to swindle thousands of pounds out of school funds in a scam involving a builder, yesterday insisted he was ‘not dishonest in any way’.’
      • ‘Police in Shanghai have cracked a gang of four who swindled money using short messaging service on cell phones.’
      • ‘This bizarre social phenomenon comes to light with the recent arrest of a con man for swindling around 100 million won from some 150 people.’
      defraud, cheat, trick, fleece, dupe, deceive, rook, exploit, squeeze, milk, bleed
      fool, take advantage of, mislead, delude, hoax, hoodwink, bamboozle, string along
      do, con, sting, diddle, fiddle, swizzle, swizz, rip off, take for a ride, pull a fast one on, pull the wool over someone's eyes, put one over on, sell a pup to, take to the cleaners, bilk, gull, finagle, gazump
      stiff, euchre, bunco, hornswoggle
      cozen, sharp
      View synonyms


  • A fraudulent scheme or action.

    ‘he is mixed up in a $10 million insurance swindle’
    • ‘It doesn't matter if the state abetted the swindle by finding the swindler innocent in a fixed trial.’
    • ‘Q. Have you ever been on the wrong end of a swindle or scam?’
    • ‘He will get fatter and nervier, simply because our system turns a blind eye to such a swindle.’
    • ‘A fraudster jailed after making a fortune from masterminding a timeshare swindle could be forced to pay £80 million to his victims.’
    • ‘But the federal and state agencies have ZERO interest in the swindle that's being perpetrated.’
    • ‘The inability of the regulators to prevent scams and swindles has also brought the private pension industry into disrepute.’
    • ‘The fact that people have been scammed for ‘hundreds of years’ doesn't justify your continuing the swindle!’
    • ‘Were they just perpetrating swindles for their salaries?’
    • ‘Of course we all want to be able to detect the lie, the cheat, the swindle, the manipulation.’
    • ‘To protect yourself against any of these possible swindles you need to be prudent in your investment decisions.’
    • ‘It is a sales gimmick, a cheat, a swindle, a scam.’
    • ‘It's a total scam, swindle, and fake, but no one in our consumer agencies has any intention of doing anything about it.’
    • ‘They are accomplices of the dealer - a part of the swindle.’
    • ‘Indeed, both men led famous swindles on the citizens they governed.’
    • ‘These people are clearly criminals and have perpetrated a massive swindle against thousands of Americans, and become fantastically rich as a result.’
    • ‘When high street banks offer 0.1% annual interest, how can anyone offer nearly 500 times as much without straying into frauds or swindles?’
    • ‘Online crimes can include multimillion-dollar swindles, online auction scams, and piracy of software and other copyrighted material.’
    • ‘One company is being investigated in connection with an alleged swindle involving close to €30 million.’
    • ‘It was also part of a stock swindle involving hundreds of millions of dollars on the Montreal Stock Exchange.’
    • ‘I want this advertising stopped as a swindle.’
    fraud, trick, deception, deceit, trickery, chicanery, exploitation, cheat, imposture, sham, sharp practice, artifice
    ruse, dodge, racket, wile
    con trick, con, sting, diddle, rip-off, fiddle, flimflam, swizzle, swizz
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: back-formation from swindler, from German Schwindler extravagant maker of schemes, swindler from schwindeln be giddy also tell lies.