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  • chicanery
  • audio pronunciation
  • \shih-KAY-nuh-ree\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : trickery
2
: a piece of sharp practice (as at law) : trick
  • EXAMPLES

The mayor's spokeswoman quickly denied the charges of nepotism, financial indiscretions, and political chicanery.

"[The film] Now You See Me tries to mystify you with its cinematic chicanery while constantly reminding you that you're not paying attention to what's truly going down." — From a movie review by Craig D. Lindsey at nashvillescene.com, June 6, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"We have hardly any words that do so fully expresse the French clinquant, naiveté … chicaneries." So lamented English writer John Evelyn in a letter to Sir Peter Wyche in 1665. Evelyn and Wyche were members of a group called the Royal Society, which had formed a committee emulating the French Academy for the purpose of "improving the English language." We can surmise that, in Evelyn's estimation, the addition of "chicanery" to English from French was an improvement. What he apparently didn't realize was that English speakers had adopted the word from the French "chicanerie" before he wished for it; the term appears in English manuscripts dating from 1609. Similarly, "clinquant" ("glittering with gold or tinsel") dates from 1591. "Naïveté," on the other hand, waited until 1673 to appear.

Test Your Memory: What word begins with "c" and completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "The audition was filled with __________ young men and women hoping to be the next face of the fashion industry"? The answer is …

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