Laundering refers to the act of disguising the proceeds of illegal or criminal activity as legitimate funds, typically through a complex series of transactions that conceal the source of the money.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech

Noun or verb


Money laundering, cleaning, whitewashing, disguising, concealing


Investigating, exposing, revealing, reporting, prosecuting

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun launderings, laundering, laundries, laundry
Verb laundered, laundering, launder, launders
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The company was fined for money laundering after it was discovered that it had been using offshore accounts to hide its profits.

  • The government has implemented new regulations to prevent money laundering in the financial sector.

  • The journalist’s investigation uncovered evidence of money laundering and corruption within the political system.

  • The criminal organization was charged with money laundering for funneling illegal funds through a network of shell companies.


The term laundering has its origins in the practice of washing dirty clothes to make them appear clean. In the context of finance, laundering refers to the process of “cleaning” money obtained through illegal or criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, embezzlement, or fraud. The goal of laundering is to make the funds appear legitimate and unconnected to the original illegal activity.

Money laundering can involve a complex series of transactions, such as moving funds between multiple bank accounts in different countries, purchasing and selling assets, or investing in businesses. These transactions are designed to obscure the origin and ownership of the funds and make it difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace them back to their illegal source.

There are various techniques used in money laundering, such as structuring, where funds are broken up into smaller amounts to avoid detection, or layering, where the funds are moved through a series of transactions to further conceal their origin. The term “laundering” can also be used more broadly to describe any attempt to conceal or disguise the source of illegal funds or assets.

Laundering is a serious crime that can have significant economic and social consequences. It can lead to the financing of further criminal activity, as well as the destabilization of legitimate businesses and financial systems. Governments and law enforcement agencies around the world have implemented various measures to combat money laundering, such as regulations on financial institutions, increased cooperation between international agencies, and the use of sophisticated technology to detect suspicious activity.

In terms of word variations, “money laundering” is a commonly used term that specifically refers to the illegal movement of funds. Other related terms include “asset laundering,” which involves the concealment of illegally obtained assets, and “tax evasion,” which involves the illegal avoidance of paying taxes. The prefix “anti-” can be added to create the word “anti-money laundering,” which refers to the measures taken to prevent or detect money laundering.