1. an empty, meaningless statement.
|Tale of a Tub I i: tub: He will have the last word, though he talk bilk for’t. [...] hugh: Bilk! What’s that? tub: Why, nothing: a word signifying Nothing.|
|Glossographia 83: Bilk is said to be an Arabick word, and signifies nothing: Cribbidge-players understand it best.|
|Examen 213: Bedloe was questioned over and over, [...] still swore the same bilk.|
2. a hoax; an act of cheating.
|Hudibras Pt II canto 3 line 376: Spells, / Which over ev’ry month’s blank-page. / I’ th’ Almanack strange bilks presage.|
|Double-Dealer III iii: There he’s secure from danger of a bilk, / His fare is paid.|
|Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 70: I put the bilk upon a pick-pocket, who measured my estate by the length and bulkiness of my new wig (which God knows is not paid for).|
|Lives of the Norths (1826) I 260: After this bilk of a discovery was known, it was reported, and by many really expected or believed, that Bedloe’s wife was coming to town.|
|New Cheats of London Exposed 14: Having [...] promised, on detection of the bilk, to give him immediate notice.|
|New Sprees of London 19: [T]he singing is good —I wish as much could be said for the grog; this is most detrimental to many of these cribs; it is a bad policy, and a villanous bilk into the bargain.|
|Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act I: A regular case of bilk—.|
|Pioche Record (NV) 28 Apr. 3/2: Tell them I think it is a ‘bilk’ [...] probably some men will make money, whilst most will leave poorer.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Feb. 1/1: The trail of bilk is over the late Government subsidised Exhibition [and] repudiation in this instance is simply a squalid and shrieking scandal.|
|Benno and Some of the Push 94: ‘It’s a bilk,’ he said. ‘This ain’t no play. The cows ’re makin’ it up ez they go along.’.‘At the Opera’|
|New York Day by Day 5 June [synd. col.] All this on the street of slickers with a game that was a bilk when the 49-ers swarmed the Yukon.|
|Und. Speaks 8/1: Bilk [...] defrauding a prostitute of her pay.|
3. (US Und.) a swindler or cheat.
|Epistle of a Reformed Rake 30: To prevent the Trade being distrest by Sharpers, or what are generally understood by the Technical-name of Bilks.|
|Midnight Spy 124: Behold a gang of right honourable pickpockets. The venerable company is composed of the Duke of Odds, the Earl of Bilk, Lord Viscount Cogem, Baron Jockey, Sir Samuel Snatchall, [...] and Mr. Live-by-wit.|
|F&H].in Sheridaniana 109: Johnny W[i]lks, Johnny W[i]lks, Thou greatest of bilks [|
|Beppo in London lxxiv: Tongues are fluent and expert, When Bilk or Dandy wounds their reputation.|
|Real Life in London I 557: The bilk†† is in such a hurry, can’t spare time to go to a shop to have the articles valued [†† A swindler or cheat].|
|‘Poll Of Drury’ in Lummy Chaunter 60: No thought had I to be a bilk.|
|Japhet 38: After a little delay, the waggoner drove off, cursing him for a bilk, and vowing that he’d never have anything more to do with a ‘larned man’.|
|Paul Periwinkle 400: ‘Bilk – Cheat – Runaway’ and other terms of endearment that seem especially to belong to the vocabulary of ’pike men.|
|Young Tom Hall (1926) 127: Fourpence! [...] why don’t you pay your pike, you dirty bilks?|
|‘Tricks of Tradesmen’ in Bob Smith’s Clown Song and Joke Bk 50: Taps you plenty of chalk in your score – what a bilk.|
|Three Thousand Miles through the Rocky Mountains 211: A ‘bilk’ is a man who never misses a meal and never pays a cent.|
|Tough Trip Through Paradise (1977) 245: What did he take me for, a damn bilk.|
|Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 156: You are a high-toned, gentlemanly sort of a bilk.|
|My Secret Life (1966) III 435: ‘Oh!’ thought I, ‘she is a whore diseased, and a bilk.’.|
|Houndsditch Day by Day 86: They knows what these young Yiddisher bilks is capable of.|
|Watch Yourself Go By 393: The boss [...] swore he would not allow a cheap poker player to do him. ‘Fix the olly! I gave him broads to the show! He’s right as a guinea! Fix him! Have this cheap Greene County bilk pinched.’.|
|Ulysses 404: You larn that go off of they there Frenchy bilks? Won’t wash here for nuts nohow.|
|Und. Speaks 8/1: Bilk, a cheat; swindler.|
4. (US) a disappointment.
|Travel and Adventure in Alaska 310: If the thing has disappointed, it may be, ‘We got down to the “bed rock,” and found it a “bilk”’ – Californian for a humbug.|
5. (US) a form of swindle worked on a brothel madam.
|Big Con 290: The bilk. A short-con swindle worked on a brothel-madam.|
|‘So, I Said to Myself’ in Rakish Rhymer (1917) 47: So I said to myself, as I’m quite out of luck, / On the bilk I must go.|