1 of 2


cheated; cheating; cheats

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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


2 of 2


: the act or an instance of fraudulently deceiving : deception, fraud
His financial activity turned out to be a great cheat.
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
: one that cheats : pretender, deceiver
is a liar and a cheat
tax cheats
[probably from a deceptive resemblance to grain]
: the obtaining of property from another by an intentional active distortion of the truth
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

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
When the chatbot launched in November, school districts, teachers and professors were worried about students using the tool to plagiarize and cheat. Kayla Jimenez, USA TODAY, 1 Mar. 2023 The lure of mineral riches in a country as poor as Congo provides irresistible temptation for politicians and officials to steal and cheat. Nicolas Niarchos, The New Yorker, 24 May 2021 The survey also probed people’s feelings about VMI’s student-run honor system, which expels students who violate the college’s honor code forbidding them not to lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do. Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2021 The plot, bookended by appearances by Kermit the Frog, follows Emmet and his widowed Ma, residents of Frogtown Hollow, who do odd jobs for residents, some of whom cheat them out of payment. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Dec. 2022 Rebecca Bell didn’t have to cheat her way to a high score. Andrew Beaton And Ben Cohen, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2022 That’s why there has been an uproar about students being able to cheat when writing essays outside of the classroom. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023 Could that hurt your business if people feel emboldened to cheat? Phil Wahba, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2023 The investigation, which started weeks ago, broaches the culpability of the banks that helped sustain Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, which the federal government alleges was built via a years-long effort to cheat customers and investors. Ben Weiss, Fortune Crypto, 3 Feb. 2023
Life after 'The Daily Show' means a world tour — and his third consecutive time hosting the Grammys, Billboard exclusively announces, a 'cheat code' for a die-hard music lover like himself. Neena Rouhani, Billboard, 15 Dec. 2022 He’s got two assists in his first 11 appearances, and being a cheat code in the middle of the field has been huge for Valencia, which is fourth in La Liga with 22 goals. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Think of American cheese as a cheat code, a way to make a sleek, silky cheese sauce that isn’t weighed down by cornstarch or flour, both of which can leave a powdery aftertaste if not thoroughly cooked. Shilpa Uskokovic, Bon Appétit, 23 Jan. 2023 In 2020, the box office star revealed one of his favorite cheat meals: French toast. Anthony Robledo, USA TODAY, 21 July 2022 Australian Mack Horton, who called Sun a drug cheat at the 2016 Rio Olympics and refused to share the podium with him at the 2019 world championships in South Korea, will be at the Tokyo Games. Reuters, CNN, 23 June 2021 Morgan, who died in 2020, also wrote in the letter that if steroid users were elected to Cooperstown, those Hall of Famers already enshrined would skip the induction ceremonies altogether, rather than share a stage with a drug cheat. Christian Red, Forbes, 27 Jan. 2023 The classic campaign mode will be also be available on Xbox, alongside cheat modes, support for dual analog sticks, and native 16:9 aspect ratio up to 4K. Tom Warren, The Verge, 25 Jan. 2023 The release of source code by the attackers, whether publicly or by sale, could have implications for cheat software, providing direct knowledge of the game's mechanisms rather than relying on reverse engineering. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 25 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


Noun and Verb

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

First Known Use


1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cheat was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near cheat

Cite this Entry

“Cheat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to deprive of something valuable by dishonest methods
cheated them out of their property
: to successfully avoid or oppose by or as if by cleverness
the daredevil had cheated death again
: to use unfair or dishonest methods to gain an advantage
cheat on a test
cheat at cards
cheater noun


2 of 2 noun
: an act of cheating
: a person who cheats

More from Merriam-Webster on cheat

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