[ skam ]
/ skæm /


a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.

verb (used with object), scammed, scam·ming.

to cheat or defraud with a scam.

Origin of scam

1960–65; orig. carnival argot; of obscure origin
Related formsscam·mer, noun
Can be confusedscam scan Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for scammer (1 of 2)



/ (ˈskæmə) /


slang a person who perpetrates a scam; swindler

British Dictionary definitions for scammer (2 of 2)


/ (skæm) slang /


a stratagem for gain; a swindle

verb scams, scamming or scammed

(tr) to swindle (someone) by means of a trick
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 scammer


1963, noun and verb, U.S. slang, a carnival term, of unknown origin. Perhaps related to 19c. British slang scamp "cheater, swindler" (see scamp (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper