from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To swindle a person by not paying a debt or wager.
  • intransitive verb To fail to fulfill an obligation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To cheat or practise cheating by betting or taking money as a stake on a horse-race, and running off without settling.
  • Foreign. See welshnut.
  • Relating or pertaining to Wales (a titular principality and a part of the island of Great Britain, opposite the southern part of Ireland), or to its people or its indigenous Cymric language
  • noun Collectively, as a plural word with the definite article, the people of Wales, or the members of the Cymric race indigenous to Wales. They were ruled by petty princes, and maintained their independence of the English till 1282–3.
  • noun The language of Wales or of the Welsh.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The language of Wales, or of the Welsh people.
  • noun The natives or inhabitants of Wales.
  • verb Slang, Slang, Slang To cheat by avoiding payment of bets; -- said esp. of an absconding bookmaker at a race track.
  • verb Slang To avoid dishonorably the fulfillment of a pecuniary obligation.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to Wales, or its inhabitants.
  • adjective a fine kind of flannel made from the fleece of the flocks of the Welsh mountains, and largely manufactured by hand.
  • adjective a weapon of war used in former times by the Welsh, commonly regarded as a kind of poleax.
  • adjective (O. Eng. Law) a species of mortgage, being a conveyance of an estate, redeemable at any time on payment of the principal, with an understanding that the profits in the mean time shall be received by the mortgagee without account, in satisfaction of interest.
  • adjective a choice and delicate kind of mutton obtained from a breed of small sheep in Wales.
  • adjective (Bot.) a kind of onion (Allium fistulosum) having hollow inflated stalks and leaves, but scarcely any bulb, a native of Siberia. It is said to have been introduced from Germany, and is supposed to have derived its name from the German term wälsch foreign.
  • adjective [Obs. & Jocular] hemp, or halters made from hemp.
  • adjective See under Rabbit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb pejorative To swindle someone by not paying a debt, especially a gambling debt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a native or resident of Wales
  • noun a breed of dual-purpose cattle developed in Wales
  • verb cheat by avoiding payment of a gambling debt
  • adjective of or relating to or characteristic of Wales or its people or their language
  • noun a Celtic language of Wales


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from welch, spelling influenced by Welsh, used disparagingly. Compare gyp ("swindle") (probably from gypsy ("Roma")), and jew ("defraud"), from Jew.


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