The Welfare Queen Josh Levin, Slate In the 1970s, Ronald Reagan villainized a Chicago woman for bilking the government.
If convicted of manipulating and bilking Bettencourt, he could face up to three years in prison.
1650s, from or along with the noun (1630s), first used as a cribbage term; as a verb, "to spoil (someone's) score." Origin obscure, it was believed in 17c. to be "a word signifying nothing;" perhaps it s a thinned form of balk "to hinder." Meaning "to defraud" is first recorded 1670s. Related: Bilked; bilking.