\ ˈchēt \
cheated; cheating; cheats

Definition of cheat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud cheated the elderly couple out of their property
2 : to influence or lead by deceit, trick, or artifice a young man who cheated young women into marrying him when he was already married
3 : to elude or thwart by or as if by outwitting cheat death

intransitive verb

1a : to practice fraud or trickery denied the accusation that he cheated
b : to violate rules dishonestly cheat at cards cheating on a test
2 : to be sexually unfaithful usually used with on was cheating on his wife
3 : to position oneself defensively near a particular area in anticipation of a play in that area the shortstop was cheating toward second base



Definition of cheat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or an instance of fraudulently deceiving : deception, fraud His financial activity turned out to be a great cheat.
2 or cheat code : a code (such as a button combination or password) that activates a hidden feature or capability in a computer or video game In fact, some game levels are so tough that I had to resort to cheats to get through.— Peter Cohen Most people think that using a cheat code is the only way to earn a dishonest reward …— Christopher Breen
3 : one that cheats : pretender, deceiver is a liar and a cheat tax cheats

4 [ probably from a deceptive resemblance to grain ]

5 : the obtaining of property from another by an intentional active distortion of the truth

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cheat


cheater noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cheat


cheat, cozen, defraud, swindle mean to get something by dishonesty or deception. cheat suggests using trickery that escapes observation. cheated me out of a dollar cozen implies artful persuading or flattering to attain a thing or a purpose. always able to cozen her grandfather out of a few dollars defraud stresses depriving one of his or her rights and usually connotes deliberate perversion of the truth. defrauded of her inheritance by an unscrupulous lawyer swindle implies large-scale cheating by misrepresentation or abuse of confidence. swindled of their savings by con artists

Examples of cheat in a Sentence


The players were accused of cheating. I had to cheat in order to solve the puzzle. The store cheats its customers through false advertising. They cheated him out of a fair deal. a heroin addict who has cheated death many times
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Yes, the same Joel who cheated on her with his secretary. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 6 Dec. 2018 For expats and others, the IRS now offers a compliance program with lesser penalties, or none, for offshore-account holders who didn’t willfully cheat. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "The IRS Is Still Coming for You, Offshore Tax Cheats," 14 Sep. 2018 This Green City program is one facet of Electrify America, the program that emerged out of Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal which will spend $2 billion on supporting electric vehicle adoption. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Sacramento’s $44 million plan to become the U.S. electric car capital," 17 July 2018 With finite resources to catch athletes who are cheating and deter any who might be considering it, Usada opts for testing that is reasonable if not random. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "For Tennis Players, Numbers in Antidoping Program Don’t Add Up," 3 July 2018 Jeff Greer/Louisville Courier Journal The Commission on College Basketball has recommended an NCAA bylaw change that would ban coaches who cheat for life. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "The NCAA needs to be as harsh on cheating coaches as it was with Kentucky's Eric Manuel," 25 Apr. 2018 Victims of unethical Trump who cheated them out of their rightful titles. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway on how Comey memos vindicate Trump," 22 Apr. 2018 Gradually, it's revealed that Joe murdered the person with whom Candace was cheating—a record executive who was helping her launch her career—by pushing him off a tall building in a fit of rage. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Really Happened to Joe's Ex-Girlfriend Candace on You & Is She Coming Back for Season 2?," 19 Jan. 2019 Tabloid reports claim that Jeff cheated on MacKenzie, though nothing has been confirmed. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Watch 'The View' Stars Meghan McCain and Whoopi Goldberg Get Into It Over Jeff Bezos' Divorce," 11 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Often expatriates were stunned to find they could be considered tax cheats under the expansive U.S. law and that compliance would be onerous. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "The IRS Is Still Coming for You, Offshore Tax Cheats," 14 Sep. 2018 For a quick cheat-sheet on what to grab, read on below for a few of our can't-miss products from the sale. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "The Best Beauty Deals From the Macy's Fall VIP Sale," 21 Sep. 2018 In any other sport, he would be diminished by his designation as a drug cheat. Dylan Hernandez,, "There's a no-duh reason — think $$ — for Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez rematch," 14 June 2018 Yeah, my cheat meal is...whenever Tyler isn’t looking. Luke Darby, GQ, "The Real-Life Diet of Max Holloway, Whose Top-Secret Recovery Shakes Keep Him in Fighting Shape," 5 July 2018 The science of catching drug cheats, like all sciences, is cold. Tom Verducci,, "Robinson Canó Will Sit 80 Games for a Drug Violation, But His Reputation Is Forever Tarnished," 15 May 2018 While our fellow media friends are getting to the bottom of the split (did Brad cheat on Angie with a co-star? Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "How Will Brad and Angelina Divide Their Assets?," 20 Sep. 2016 Attacks come in the final few hundred yards of the biggest climbs, where a clean rider has a chance at besting a TUE cheat. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "Stop Boycotting Pro Cycling," 6 July 2018 In an age when the government had found myriad reasons to end a life and so many high-tech ways to do it, having someone close to you die the classic way, for no earthly reason at all, seemed like a cheat. Jason Douglas Louie, The Root, "Birthday Boy," 15 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cheat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cheat


1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cheat

Noun and Verb

earlier cheat forfeited property, from Middle English chet escheat, short for eschete — more at escheat

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cheat

Dictionary Entries near cheat


cheap thrill





cheat fate

Statistics for cheat

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cheat

The first known use of cheat was in 1590

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cheat



English Language Learners Definition of cheat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something
: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule
: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get



English Language Learners Definition of cheat (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who cheats


\ ˈchēt \
cheated; cheating

Kids Definition of cheat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to use unfair or dishonest methods to gain an advantage cheat on a test cheat at cards
2 : to take something away from or keep from having something by dishonest tricks “Old Mr. Peterson was cheated of his money by a dishonest agent …”— Janet Shaw, Meet Kirsten

Other Words from cheat

cheater \ ˈchē-​tər \ noun



Kids Definition of cheat (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dishonest person

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cheat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cheat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cheat

Spanish Central: Translation of cheat

Nglish: Translation of cheat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cheat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cheat

What made you want to look up cheat? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deny responsibility for

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!