I. verb — [with obj.] 1. obtain or withhold money from (someone) unfairly or by deceit; cheat or defraud • government waste has bilked the taxpayer of billions of dollars.
2. obtain (money) fraudulently • some businesses bilk thousands of dollars from unsuspecting elderly consumers.
‹archaic› evade; elude.
II. derivatives bilker noun
– origin mid 17th cent. (originally used in cribbage meaning ‘spoil one’s opponent’s score’): perhaps a variant of balk.