[ bilk ]
/ bɪlk /

verb (used with object)

to defraud; cheat: He bilked the government of almost a million dollars.
to evade payment of (a debt).
to frustrate: a career bilked by poor health.
to escape from; elude: to bilk one's pursuers.


a cheat; swindler.
a trick; fraud; deceit.

Nearby words

  1. biliterate,
  2. bilith,
  3. bilithon,
  4. biliuria,
  5. biliverdin,
  6. bill,
  7. bill broker,
  8. bill of adventure,
  9. bill of attainder,
  10. bill of entry

Origin of bilk

First recorded in 1625–35; of obscure origin

Related formsbilk·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bilk

British Dictionary definitions for bilk


/ (bɪlk) /

verb (tr)

to balk; thwart
(often foll by of) to cheat or deceive, esp to avoid making payment to
to escape from; elude
cribbage to play a card that hinders (one's opponent) from scoring in his or her crib


a swindle or cheat
a person who swindles or cheats
Derived Formsbilker, noun

Word Origin for bilk

C17: perhaps variant of balk

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

Word Origin and History for bilk



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper