Slang a petty swindler, as one who operates a dishonest gambling device at a carnival; confidence man
Origin of grifterprobably altered ; from grafter
- A con man. Someone who pulls confidence games.
- 1939. "We're all grifters. So we sell each other out for a nickel". The Big Sleep. Raymond Chandler
- 1958. "That was the train the drunks and the sinners rode--the gambling men and the grifters, the big-time spenders, the skirt-chasers, and all the jolly crew". That Hell-Bound Train. Robert Bloch