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.

Definitions of bilk
  1. verb
    cheat somebody out of what is due, especially money
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    type of:
    cheat, chisel, rip off
    deprive somebody of something by deceit
  2. verb
    evade payment to
    “He bilked his creditors”
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    type of:
    keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
  3. verb
    escape, either physically or mentally
    synonyms: elude, evade
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    type of:
    break loose, escape, get away
    run away from confinement
  4. verb
    hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of
    synonyms: baffle, confound, cross, foil, frustrate, queer, scotch, scuttle, spoil, thwart
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    disappoint, let down
    fail to meet the hopes or expectations of
    destroy or break
    hamper the progress of; impede
    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
    cause the ruin or downfall of
    cause the failure or ruin of
    ruin utterly
    type of:
    forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, preempt, prevent
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible
Word Family

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