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.

Origin of bilk

First recorded in 1625–35; of obscure origin
Related formsbilk·er, noun

Synonyms for bilk Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bilked

Contemporary Examples of bilked

  • The California governor candidate hit back hard against charges she bilked a Hispanic housekeeper.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Meg Whitman's Latino Trouble

    Shushannah Walshe

    September 30, 2010

Historical Examples of bilked

British Dictionary definitions for bilked


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 bilked



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