swindler

One who obtains goods on credit by false pretences, and sells them for ready money at any price, in order to make up a purse. This name is derived from the German word schwindlin, to totter, to be ready to fall ; these arts being generally practised by persons on the totter, or just ready to break. The term swindler has since been used to signify cheats of every kind.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Swin"dler (?), n. [G. schwindler, fr. schwindlen to be dizzy, to act thoughtlessly, to cheat, fr. schwindel dizziness, fr. schwinden to vanish, to disappear, to dwindle. See Swim to be dizzy.]

One who swindles, or defrauds grossly; one who makes a practice of defrauding others by imposition or deliberate artifice; a cheat.

Syn. -- Sharper; rogue. -- Swindler, Sharper. These words agree in describing persons who take unfair advantages. A swindler is one who obtains money or goods under false pretenses. A sharper is one who cheats by sharp practice, as in playing at cards or staking what he can not pay.

Fraud and injustice soon follow, and the dignity of the British merchant is sunk in the scandalous appellation of a swindler. V. Knox.

Perhaps you 'll think I act the same As a sly sharper plays his game. Cotton.

 

© Webster 1913.

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