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Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 8, 2021 is:

mulct • MULKT  • verb

1 : to punish by a fine

2 a : to defraud especially of money : swindle

b : to obtain by fraud, duress, or theft


Francis was barred from the securities industry when it was discovered he had been mulcting investors for years.

“Second, the book peels back, like the skins of an onion, layer after layer of the elaborate series of disguises, aliases and outright false identities by which the subject neatly mulcted sizable fortunes from hundreds of gullible investors in her schemes.” — Richard Raymond III, The Roanoke (Virginia) Times, 19 Feb. 2017

Did you know?

A fine assessed as a penalty for an infraction is generally considered justifiable. Fraud, on the other hand, is wrong—it’s just the sort of thing that deserves a fine. So in mulct we have a unique word, one that means both “to fine” and “to defraud.” The “fine” sense came first. Mulct was borrowed from the Latin word for a fine, which is multa or mulcta. The “fine” sense is still in use, mostly in legal contexts (“the court mulcted the defendant for punitive damages”), but these days mulct is more often used for an illegal act. It has been speculated that the “defraud” use may have developed from an association with the verb milk, in its “to exploit, to coerce profit from” meaning (as in “she was milked by the lawyers for everything she had”), but that speculation has never been proven.

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Ken Saunders

Freelancer, Gadget collector, Biohacker

Ken Saunders is a freelance writer, gadget collector and Biohacker. Kens’ professional background is in Information Technology as well as Health and Wellness. His experience has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys researching and writing articles on the topics of Technology, Food, and all things Freelancing. His articles have appeared in many online sites, including, Andrew Christian, and can learn more about his services at

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