Money Laundering

Also:
Laundering money
Laundered money
Money launderer

Meaning of Idiom ‘Money Laundering’

Money laundering is the criminal act of trying to make illegally obtained money seem legal by moving it through banks or other businesses, usually in small increments compared to the principal amount, thus transforming them into legitmate seeming assets.

Examples Of Use

“It was recently revealed that this year’s Oscar-winning movie was financed with illegal money and used as a money laundering scheme.”

“The president is thought to have been involved with money launderers.”

“He paid for his two mansions with laundered money.”

“The dry cleaners is just a front for a money laundering operation. I guess the owners find that funny.”

“He has been laundering¬†money for the mob for two decades.”

Origin

To launder something, usually clothing or other fabric, is to clean or wash it. This idiom alludes figuratively to making illicitly obtained money or “dirty money” appear “clean.”

Used since at least the early 1900s.

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