deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.
a particular instance of such deceit or trickery:
mail fraud; election frauds.
any deception, trickery, or humbug:
That diet book is a fraud and a waste of time.
a person who makes deceitful pretenses; sham; poseur.
Contemporary Examples

Allen Stanford was convicted of a $7 billion fraud Tuesday in federal court.
Bipartisanship! Republicans and Democrats Both Want to Keep Allen Stanford’s Money Aram Roston March 6, 2012

But absentee balloting is more vulnerable to fraud, not to mention the vaguaries of the post office.
Shouldn’t We Be Able to Vote Without Long Lines? Megan McArdle November 5, 2012

Political trouble finds him even when he is denouncing politics as a fraud.
Dylan’s Candor Gets Misconstrued as Hate Speech in France Ian Bell December 6, 2013

Among them: excessive financial awards, Pell Grant fraud, pay-for-play payouts, and failure to follow its own drug-testing policy.
Time to Kill Miami Football Buzz Bissinger August 18, 2011

For all who do believe this, the very existence of Israel is a sort of fraud or a racket.
No Drama Obama’s Israel Ambivalence James Poulos July 25, 2014

Historical Examples

The whole business was provocative of fraud and perjury and bribery.
A History of The Inquisition of Spain; vol. 2, Henry Charles Lea

When it is complicated by fraud or other crimes, it is the latter only which are concerned.
The Sexual Question August Forel

Second, that I will prevent, to the utmost of my power, theft and every fraud in all ranks of men.
Edwy the Fair or the First Chronicle of Aescendune A. D. Crake

How was it you did not detect the fraud, if only by the voice?
A Nest of Spies Pierre Souvestre

Has diplomacy been entirely stripped of fraud and duplicity?
History Of Florence And Of The Affairs Of Italy Niccolo Machiavelli

deliberate deception, trickery, or cheating intended to gain an advantage
an act or instance of such deception
something false or spurious: his explanation was a fraud
(informal) a person who acts in a false or deceitful way

“criminal deception,” early 14c., from Old French fraude “deception, fraud” (13c.), from Latin fraudem (nominative fraus) “deceit, injury.” The noun meaning “impostor, humbug” is attested from 1850. Pious fraud “deception practiced for the sake of what is deemed a good purpose” is from 1560s.


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