in ,



  1. Obtain or withhold money by deceit or without justification; cheat or defraud.
  2. Obtain (money) fraudulently.

Pronunciation: BILL-k


 Originally a cribbage term, “bilk” means to cheat someone for one’s own gain, usually in situations involving money. It first appeared in the 1650s, and by the 1670s, was used in a more general sense as a synonym for “defraud.” Cribbage is a board game that involves cards and scoring within one’s “crib.” To bilk originally meant to spoil one’s score by playing a card that would prevent one’s opponent from scoring in his or her crib. It can also mean to swindle or to evade a payment.

 Why this word?

It’s a foul-sounding word to describe a foul deed. Bilk. In such a money-focused society, often the wallet is the most sensitive place to hurt somebody. To bilk someone causes a painful, painful injury. We need more words like “bilk” in our vocabulary because it has a narrow, concise description. It says so much in four letters – cheating, but a specific type of cheating. You can’t bilk on your spouse with the guy from work or find some bilk codes online to make a video game easier. But you can dress up like a Girl Scout and create a fraudulent cookie order form with the intention of bilking all those little old ladies across town.

How to use bilk in a sentence?

“I sort of felt bad about claiming to have lost my house in the hurricane and bilking all those kind people, but this new car makes me feel better.”


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Written by Lindsay Kramer

Lindsay Kramer lives in New Jersey and has a large vocabulary. She likes writing, surfing, driving her Altima and playing with her pet rats. One of her favorite things about language is learning about the etymology of words and how they've descended through linguistic families over time. She speaks some German.


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