Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to Swindling: vindication


v. swin·dled, swin·dling, swin·dles
1. To cheat or defraud of money or property.
2. To obtain by fraudulent means: swindled money from the company.
To practice fraud as a means of obtaining money or property.
The act or an instance of swindling.

[Back-formation from swindler, one who swindles, from German Schwindler, giddy person, cheat, from schwindeln, to be dizzy, swindle, from Middle High German, from Old High German swintilōn, frequentative of swintan, to disappear.]

swin′dler n.



(See also TRICKERY.)

fleece To swindle, defraud, or con a person out of a sum of money; to cheat someone, take him for a ride or to the cleaners. This expression stems from fleece ‘to pluck or shear wool from a sheep.’ In its figurative sense, fleece implies that a victim, usually a gullible person, is led willingly and unknowingly into giving up some of his possessions.

To divide what they fleeced from these poor drudges. (Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, 1840)

fly a kite To raise money through misrepresentation, such as by the sale of bogus bonds, specious stocks, or spurious securities; to write a rubber check, i.e., one for an amount which exceeds available funds. In this expression, kite, a Wall Street term for worthless bonds, stocks, or securities, may stem from kite, the falcon-like bird with a forked tail (implying dishonesty) and a toothless bill (implying worthlessness). It is more likely, however, that kite refers to the paper “toy” that soars in the wind, the implication being that these worthless papers (bonds, etc.) are good only for constructing kites.

gazump To cheat or swindle; to defraud.

Grafters speak a language comprised of every possible type of slang … These include ‘gezumph’ which means to cheat or overcharge. (P. Allingham, Cheapjack, 1934)

This British term (also written gezumph or gazoomph) is a descendant of gazamph, an obscure word for dishonest auctioneering. Nowadays, the term usually describes an unethical increase in the price of real estate after the original asking price has been agreed.

palm off To dispose of fraudulently; to deceive someone into accepting a worthless item, plan, or other matter about which bogus claims have been made. This expression alludes to magicians and other sleight-of-hand artists who are able to trick a viewer into believing that an object concealed in the palm of their hand is actually somewhere else.

Have you not tried to palm off a yesterday’s pun? (Charles Lamb, Elia, 1822)

pig in a poke A worthless, uncertain, or misrepresented bargain; a risk or chance; some item purchased or accepted on blind, and possibly misplaced, trust. This expression recalls the county fairs which were once common in England and elsewhere. If a customer bought a suckling pig at one of these fairs, he would usually take it home in a poke, a small sack. Since some pigs were sold at bargain prices sight unseen in a sealed bag, an occasional unscrupulous purveyor substituted a cat for. the pig, hoping to deceive the buyer of “a pig in a poke.” A cautious customer, however, would open the sack before buying its contents, thus “letting the cat out of the bag.” This expression often appears in the context of to buy a pig in a poke. The French equivalent, acheter un chat en poche ’to buy a cat in a poke,’ refers directly to the deceptive practice described above. See also let the cat out of the bag, EXPOSURE.

take to the cleaners To defraud someone of all his money; to wipe out; often used passively in the phrase to be taken to the cleaners. This rather recent American slang expression is thought to be a modernized version of the earlier slang phrase cleaned out, which is still in current use today. Its meaning is similar to that of taken to the cleaners, but it lacks the latter’s usual connotation of having been duped or swindled.

References in classic literature ?
you low, mischievous, swindling blackguard!" cried my amiable sister, shaking her skirts with all her might, "you have done this on purpose!
Although lately some spark may have been shown by one, which made us think he was ordained by God for our redemption, nevertheless it was afterwards seen, in the height of his career, that fortune rejected him; so that Italy, left as without life, waits for him who shall yet heal her wounds and put an end to the ravaging and plundering of Lombardy, to the swindling and taxing of the kingdom and of Tuscany, and cleanse those sores that for long have festered.
The shopkeeper there swindles you if he can, and insults you whether he succeeds in swindling you or not.
And whereas there is now hardly a town of France or Italy in which you shall not see some noble countryman of our own, with that happy swagger and insolence of demeanour which we carry everywhere, swindling inn-landlords, passing fictitious cheques upon credulous bankers, robbing coach- makers of their carriages, goldsmiths of their trinkets, easy travellers of their money at cards, even public libraries of their books--thirty years ago you needed but to be a Milor Anglais, travelling in a private carriage, and credit was at your hand wherever you chose to seek it, and gentlemen, instead of cheating, were cheated.
In the next room they were talking about some sort of machines, and swindling, and coughing their morning coughs.
"I don't shock you -- do I?" Weary and heart-sick as she was -- suspicious of others, doubtful of herself -- the extravagant impudence of Captain Wragge's defense of swindling touched Magdalen's natural sense of humor, and forced a smile to her lips.
My lord, with forty thousand a year; Sir John, with property in half a dozen counties -- those are the men who never forgive the genteel beggar for swindling them out of a sovereign; those are the men who send for the mendicity officers; those are the men who take care of their money.
LAHORE -- A man allegedly involved in swindling people out of their money was caught red-handed by the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited staff and handed over to police.
All the suspects were charged with violation of Republic Act 8042, the migrant workers' law, and swindling.
A few days ago, the FIA in Faisalabad arrested four people for swindling citizens through lottery schemes.
Dubai: Two Asians have been referred to court for duping and swindling Dh35,000 from a married couple after renting them out a flat using a forged contract.
Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents arrested a Korean fake journalist who was facing a string of fraud cases for swindling 42.2 million won from his victims in South Korea.