Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 30° Partly Cloudy

Community Comment

A Word A Day — grift

Good evening, Netizens...

March 22, 2013

Word of the Day

  • grift
  • audio pronunciation
  • \GRIFT\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

1
: to obtain (money) illicitly (as in a confidence game)
2
: to acquire money or property illicitly
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

John grifted much of his income by carrying out elaborate cons against unsuspecting tourists.

"Both victims lost substantial amounts of money, with one being grifted out of an astonishing $35,000.…" — From an article in SFist, September 6, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

"Grift" was born in the argot of the underworld, a realm in which a "grifter" might be a pickpocket, a crooked gambler, or a confidence man—any criminal who relied on skill and wits rather than physical violence—and to be "on the grift" was to make a living by stings and clever thefts. "Grift" may have evolved from "graft," a slightly older word meaning "to acquire dishonestly," but its exact origins are uncertain. We do know that the verb "grift" first finagled its way into print in 1915 in George Bronson-Howard's God's Man: "Grifting ain't what it used to be. Fourteenth Street's got protection down to a system—a regular underworld tariff on larceny."

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.