\ ˈchēt How to pronounce cheat (audio) \
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

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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

Verb 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The move by Bristol Myers, the I.R.S. concluded, would cheat the United States out of about $1.4 billion in taxes. New York Times, "An Accidental Disclosure Exposes a $1 Billion Tax Fight With Bristol Myers," 1 Apr. 2021 The Red Sox tried to cheat but were too bad to do anything with it. Tyler Stafford, Chron, "An Astros fan's guide to booing every other team in baseball," 1 Apr. 2021 Officials have implored Californians who don’t qualify not to cheat the system. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Essential California: Why the vaccine honor system matters," 17 Mar. 2021 Matthew Modine plays Singer, who persuaded his wealthy clients to cheat an educational system already designed to benefit the privileged. cleveland, "‘Bachelor’ finale, ‘America’s Most Wanted’ revival tops this week’s TV picks," 14 Mar. 2021 And Covid has only intensified the competitive pressures that led so many wealthy parents to cheat and break the law, with applications to the most famous colleges up by eye-watering percentages. Ryan Craig, Forbes, "Fear And Loathing In Lottery Admissions," 5 Mar. 2021 Keep track of how many fly balls touch down inside the line because a Red Sox corner outfielder couldn’t cheat over a few steps without Bradley being there to cover the gap. Peter Abraham,, "The absence of Jackie Bradley Jr. in the Red Sox outfield will be felt," 4 Mar. 2021 The Greatest Party That Never Happened, recreated wiretapped conversations between wealthy parents and Rick Singer, who helped his clients cheat their children's way into prestigious universities. Nick Romano,, "Netflix's Operation Varsity Blues trailer recreates real F.B.I. wiretaps from college admissions scam," 1 Mar. 2021 Testing was also a nightmare, because Briggs worried those at home were using Google to cheat. Anchorage Daily News, "More teachers are asked to double up, instructing kids at school and at home simultaneously," 21 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun If there were a cheat code for putting together a flawless spring outfit, the voluminous silhouette would be at the heart of the formula. Alexis Bennett, Vogue, "Once a Trend, Now a Classic, Puff-Sleeve Dresses Are Perfect for Spring," 31 Mar. 2021 The cheat sheets consulted by outfielders, pitchers and catchers. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "'Where did the jersey piping go?' and other petty sports beefs," 21 Mar. 2021 Three cheat sheets are magnetic, which easily sticks to your appliance, refrigerator, or INSTA. Maren Estrada, BGR, "Amazon has a $32 Instant Pot accessory kit that’ll be a game-changer for your kitchen," 18 Mar. 2021 The site’s cheat-catching algorithm measures how closely a player’s moves resemble a chess engine’s. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "A Bird-Feed Seller Beat a Chess Master Online. Then It Got Ugly," 12 Mar. 2021 This might be a cheat, because of course Apple has the best official case. Anthony Karcz, Forbes, "The 13 Best iPhone 12 Pro Max Cases To Keep It Safe Until Your Next Upgrade," 1 Mar. 2021 Once a week, Shaw indulges in a cheat meal, to celebrate a week of success. Minnah Arshad, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan woman wins world's best female bodybuilder title," 15 Feb. 2021 Prior to Trey Sermon unlocking his cheat code late last season, Teague was the better performer in the OSU backfield. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football has no choice but to trust young talent more in 2021," 25 Feb. 2021 By its very nature, concludes the philosopher, life is a disappointment and a cheat. Washington Post, "On the Suffering of the World," 13 Jan. 2021

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.

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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

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Learn More about cheat

Statistics for cheat

Last Updated

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cheat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce cheat (audio) \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cheat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cheat

Nglish: Translation of cheat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cheat for Arabic Speakers

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