grift

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

American criminal underworld slang, 1906 (noun), 1915 (verb), alteration of graft (corruption, illicit profit through corrupt means, bribe, ones occupation), alteration perhaps influenced by similar sounding words, e.g. drift, etc., probably ultimately from Middle Dutch graft (digging, ditch, canal, trench) (modern Dutch gracht), related to Dutch graven (to dig), English grave (to dig).[1][2][3]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ɡɹɪft/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪft

Noun[edit]

grift (plural grifts)

  1. (US, slang) A confidence game or swindle. [from 1906]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:deception
    Hey, what's the grift? What are you trying to pull?

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

grift (third-person singular simple present grifts, present participle grifting, simple past and past participle grifted)

  1. (transitive, US, slang) To obtain illegally, as by con game. [from early 20th c.]
  2. (intransitive, US, slang) To obtain money illegally. [from early 20th c.]
  3. (intransitive, US, slang) To obtain money immorally or through deceitful means.

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “grift”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ A Dictionary of the Underworld: British and American, Eric Partridge (2015), p. 307
  3. ^ Word Origins...And How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone, Anatoly Liberman (2009), p. 32