[ pon-zee ]
/ ˈpɒn zi /


a swindle in which a quick return, made up of money from new investors, on an initial investment lures the victim into much bigger risks.

Origin of Ponzi

after Charles Ponzi (died 1949), the organizer of such a scheme in the U.S., 1919–20
Also called Ponzi game, Ponzi scheme.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for ponzi scheme

Ponzi scheme
/ (ˈpɒnzɪ) /


a fraudulent investment operation that pays quick returns to initial contributors using money from subsequent contributors rather than profit

Word Origin for Ponzi scheme

After Charles Ponzi, who famously perpetrated such a scheme in the United States of America in the early 20th century
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