bilk

Ever paid a restaurant bill only to discover they charged you for stuff you never had? What they did was bilk you — cheat you out of money that was justly yours. Shady companies are forever bilking their investors.

To bilk someone is slightly different from plain robbing them, though the effect is the same; it implies a non-violent, subtle and devious method masquerading as legitimate. Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi scheme king, was a classic bilker. On a more enjoyable note, one of the greatest bilkers in TV history was the appropriately named Sergeant Bilko, played by the comedian Phil Silvers. His eternal card games, promotions and get-rich-quick schemes were all designed to part some poor sucker from their cash. Watch and learn from the master.

Primary Meanings of bilk

1.
v
cheat somebody out of what is due, especially money
2.
v
escape, either physically or mentally
3.
v
hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
Full Definitions of bilk
1

v cheat somebody out of what is due, especially money

Type of:
cheat, chisel, rip off
deprive somebody of something by deceit

v evade payment to

“He bilked his creditors”
Type of:
deprive
keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
2

v escape, either physically or mentally

Synonyms:
elude, evade
Type of:
break loose, escape, get away
run away from confinement
3

v hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

Synonyms:
baffle, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, spoil, thwart
Types:
show 10 types...
hide 10 types...
disappoint, let down
fail to meet the hopes or expectations of
dash
destroy or break
short-circuit
hamper the progress of; impede
ruin
destroy or cause to fail
betray, fail
disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake
come short, fall short
fail to meet (expectations or standards)
disenchant, disillusion
free from enchantment
undo
cause the ruin or downfall of
break
cause the failure or ruin of
shipwreck
ruin utterly
Type of:
forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, prevent
keep from happening or arising; make impossible

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.