verb1 : to block the free development of :frustrate 2 a : to cheat out of something valuable : defraud b : to evade payment of or to 3 : to slipaway from
The investigation revealed that the garage had been bilking motorists for repairs that had never been made.
“Two women were convictedThursday of taking part in a schemein which unnecessary medicalprocedures were carried out in orderto bilk insurance companies out of more than $50 million.” — SeanEmery, Orange County Register(California), March 7, 2015
Did you know?
Initially, “bilking” wasn‘t consideredcheating—just good strategy for cribbage players. Languagehistorians aren‘t sure where bilkoriginated, but they have noticed thatits earliest uses occur in contextsreferring to cribbage. Part of the scoring in cribbage involves eachplayer adding cards from his or her hand to a pile of discards called the “crib.” At the end of a hand, the dealer gets any points in the crib. Strategically, then, it’s wisest for the dealer‘s opponent to discard non-scoring cards—the ones most likelyto “balk,” or put a check on, the dealer‘s score. Etymologists theorizethat “bilk” may have originated as an alteration of that card-game “balk.”