ill-gotten gains

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

ill-gotten gains pl (plural only)

  1. Money or other property acquired dishonestly.
    Synonym: dirty money
    Ill-gotten gains never prosper.
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter XXXIX, in Vanity Fair. A Novel without a Hero, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1848, OCLC 3174108:
      Was it her fault if she did not possess those sycophantic arts which her hypocritical nephew, Pitt Crawley, practised? She wished him all the happiness which he merited out of his ill-gotten gains.
    • 1855, Frederick Douglass, “Life as a Freeman”, in My Bondage and My Freedom, New York: Miller, Orton and Mulligan, page 380:
      Secondly, the highly reprehensible course pursued by the Free Church of Scotland, in soliciting, receiving, and retaining money in its sustentation fund for supporting the gospel in Scotland, which was evidently the ill-gotten gain of slaveholders and slave-traders.
    • 1883, Howard Pyle, “Robin Hood and Will Scarlet”, in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown, in Nottinghamshire, New York, N.Y.: [] Charles Scribner’s Sons [], OCLC 22773434:
      By the bright bow of Heaven, I will have their ill-gotten gains from them, even though I hang for it as high as e'er a forest tree in Sherwood!
    • 1903, Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Empty House”, in The Return of Sherlock Holmes[1]:
      The exclusion from his clubs would mean ruin to Moran, who lived by his ill-gotten card gains.
    • 2015 February 6, Paul Sullivan, “Finding the ‘Right’ Way to Dispose of Ill-Gotten Gains”, in The New York Times[2], ISSN 0362-4331:
      How, exactly, does a lawyer come to legally give away ill-gotten gains on behalf of an international company that does not want to be named and surely does not want to face prosecution for what one division did?

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