siphon off

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

siphon something off

 (from something)
1. Lit. to suck or draw a liquid off from something. Harry siphoned the cream off the milk. He siphoned off the cream.
2. Fig. to embezzle or steal something a little at a time. The teller had been siphoning money off for years. she siphoned off a few dollars from the collection every week or so.
See also: off, siphon

siphon off something

also siphon something off
to take something that was intended for someone or something else The dictator and his close friends siphoned off up to 20 percent of the annual budget. The donated food was mostly siphoned off and sold, while the needy got almost nothing.
Usage notes: sometimes used without off: A third-party candidate siphoned southern support. She siphoned more than $15,000 from a patient's trust fund.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of siphon (a tube used to move liquid from one container to another)
See also: off, siphon

siphon off

1. To draw off or convey something through or as if through a siphon: I used a tube to siphon off the excess water in the fish tank. The lawn mower ran out of gas, so we siphoned some off from the car's gas tank.
2. To appropriate some money illegally or dishonestly: The managers were siphoning off money from the foundation and putting it into secret accounts. The dictator siphoned millions of dollars off and hid the money in private bank accounts.
See also: off, siphon
References in periodicals archive ?
Israel could lay a pipeline horizontally to siphon off Lebanese gas, which is sitting only 4 kilometers away from the new discovered Israeli field," Bassil said.
A HOSPITAL cleaner who used a dying patient's stolen savings book in a bid to siphon off pounds 8,500 has been jailed for nine months.
Before forking out the 20 bucks for this perv-per-view soft porn/hard- hitting Lingerie Bowl that's supposed to siphon off viewers during halftime of CBS' Super Bowl, a women's group complaining loud enough to the event sponsors have brought about some changes to the program.
Be it a multi-billion-pound corporation diddling the public or a ruthless back-street shark trying to siphon off your savings, we've exposed them all.
Porridgery isn't the only business that may see its sales tumble in the next few years as manufacturers of more glamorous merchandise siphon off expendable cash.
Rock and the Pop Narcotic contains a caustic vein of antibohemian contempt for arty eggheads, middle-class ideologues, and other "mind groupies" who siphon off rock ideas and put them in the service of "assorted perceived solidarities: generational, cultural, political, social, class.
Over the next seven years, they attempted to siphon off small amounts of breast fluid from 2,701 white women, using a nipple aspirator similar to the breast pumps used by many nursing mothers.
They siphon off some of the blood rushing from the aorta to the body and deliver it instead to the lungs.
His cost-saving effort aims to counter a second year of state budget shortfalls that could siphon off property taxes that fund nearly half the district's $12 million operating budget.
The drug worked like an amphetamine, driving the Pearl Assurance manager to siphon off the cash.
They also suggest that pipes be installed in Lake Nyos to siphon off the carbon dioxide that builds up at the bottom.
The report - titled "Increasing Incomes & Reducing the Rapid Refund Rip-Off" - also shows that tax preparers siphon off over one billion dollars per year from low-income working families through the sale of unnecessary bank products such as Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs).
Half jokingly, they have adopted the language of revolutionaries - for experience has taught them promises to the Valley all too often are broken by politicians who siphon off the money to other areas.
Mrs Mitchell, of Egham, Surrey, invented "ghost" employees to siphon off money, Blackfriars Crown Court was told.
It is tempting to siphon off transportation money in tough times, but when he and the Legislature look at reality, they will recognize that the transportation cupboard is bare and that shortchanging transportation will hinder the state's economic recovery by killing jobs, hindering goods movement, reducing tax revenues and reducing mobility.