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[swin-dl] /ˈswɪn dl/
verb (used with object), swindled, swindling.
to cheat (a person, business, etc.) out of money or other assets.
to obtain by fraud or deceit.
verb (used without object), swindled, swindling.
to put forward plausible schemes or use unscrupulous trickery to defraud others; cheat.
an act of swindling or a fraudulent transaction or scheme.
anything deceptive; a fraud:
This advertisement is a real swindle.
Origin of swindle
1775-85; back formation from swindler < German Schwindler irresponsible person, promoter of wildcat schemes, cheat, derivative of schwindeln to be dizzy (hence dizzy-minded, irresponsible), defraud, equivalent to schwind- (akin to Old English swindan to languish) + -(e)l- -le + -er -er1
Related forms
swindleable, adjective
swindler, noun
swindlingly, adverb
outswindle, verb (used with object), outswindled, outswindling.
1. cozen, dupe, trick, gull. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for swindle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sell he swindle, rum, fire-water, We will sell him Fear in plenty.

  • Of course, if there is anything approaching a swindle in it, I shall have nothing to do with it.

    A Woman Intervenes Robert Barr
  • A cardinal and a queen implicated in a forgery and a swindle!

  • Ay, grow pale if you like; but I 'll repeat the word,—a swindle!

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • I'd like to know about this swindle that's going to be sprung on him.

    One Day More Joseph Conrad
  • Devar was in the swindle and kept Miste advised of your movements.


    Henry Seton Merriman
  • The man has had a finger in every Anglo-French swindle of the last ten years.


    Henry Seton Merriman
  • "Yes—that's how he came to swindle me and several others," answered our hero.

    From Farm to Fortune Horatio Alger Jr.
British Dictionary definitions for swindle


to cheat (someone) of money, etc; defraud
(transitive) to obtain (money, etc) by fraud
a fraudulent scheme or transaction
Derived Forms
swindler, noun
Word Origin
C18: back formation from German Schwindler, from schwindeln, from Old High German swintilōn, frequentative of swintan to disappear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for swindle

1782, back-formation from swindler. Related: Swindled; swindling. As a noun from 1833.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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