\ 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 onwas 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 Under the Electoral College, by contrast, fraudsters need to know not only how to cheat, but where. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Electoral College Is a Bulwark Against Fraud," 15 Sep. 2020 The poll also finds that most voters – 52% – thought the Trump campaign would try to cheat if necessary to win in November while 39% say the same about the Biden campaign. USA TODAY, "'Anxious, fearful, angry.' At 50 days out to Election Day, many voters are wary of both Trump and Biden," 14 Sep. 2020 Rodriguez has surely changed since making those fateful choices, as a Yankee, to cheat and lie and sue. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "Denying Alex Rodriguez, Mets Avoid a Risky Presence in the Owner’s Box," 29 Aug. 2020 Instructors can review the test video at marked points and decide for themselves whether a student is trying to cheat. Rachel Metz, CNN, "Online school means online tests, along with computerized surveillance," 29 Aug. 2020 Don’t cheat and go to the second half of this article to find the answer. Kevin Dayhoff,, "Dayhoff: Winchester Place thrived when Westminster was known as a summer resort," 28 Aug. 2020 Loughlin and Giannulli were implicated last year along with at least 55 other defendants facing charges in a college admissions scam involving parents conspiring to cheat on admissions exams and bribing university coaches and administrators. Erin Corbett,, "Lori Loughlin & Mossimo Giannulli Sentenced To Prison Time For College Admissions Scandal," 24 Aug. 2020 Nor are courts likely to stop Donald Trump from undermining the postal service in an effort to cheat his way to a win in November. Christopher J. Sprigman, The New Republic, "A Constitutional Weapon for Biden to Vanquish Trump’s Army of Judges," 20 Aug. 2020 When classes are flexible, students are less likely to cheat, Roessler said. USA Today, "'Living in my car'? Fall semester online means college students are scrambling for housing, Wi-Fi," 21 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun China, which was admitted to the WTO late in 2001, regularly draws accusations of being a trade cheat. Jon Healey, Star Tribune, "World Trade Organization, in ruling for China, bares its toothless gums," 17 Sep. 2020 Plus, who couldn’t use some extra pockets for mask storage and ballot cheat sheets this fall? Shanna Shipin, Glamour, "The 31 Best Cargo Pants for Women," 16 Sep. 2020 Unscrupulous Fall Guys players have been using a loophole in Steam's Family Sharing feature to get around cheat detection bans. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Fall Guys cheating loophole leads to blanket Family Sharing ban," 27 Aug. 2020 How did Mary avoid becoming a tax cheat like her uncle or a robotic, ethically challenged cipher like her cousin, Ivanka? Molly Jong-fast, Vogue, "The Trump Women Are Exactly What America Doesn’t Need Right Now. Except for the President’s Niece," 1 Aug. 2020 Krispy Kreme is calling the minis their biggest innovation of 2020, and is encouraging people to have one (or a few) as a cheat day snack. Mary Honkus,, "Chocolate-Glazed Donuts Are Back at Krispy Kreme — for 2 Days Only," 10 July 2020 This one is a cheat, because there are just so many great documentaries from the legendary filmmaker. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "50 best TV shows to watch on Netflix right now: 'Better Call Saul,' 'Pose,' 'Twilight Zone,' more," 1 July 2020 The breakfast protein target is encouraged even on the cheat day. Cynthia Sass, Mph,, "What Is the Slow Carb Diet? Everything You Need to Know About the Eating Plan, According to a Nutritionist," 8 June 2020 Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow, which means many of us are putting a cheat day on the calendar and whipping up our own social distancing-appropriate feast at home. Brianna Steinhilber, NBC News, "A healthy (and super easy) guacamole recipe for Cinco de Mayo," 4 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for cheat

Time Traveler

The first known use of cheat was in 1590

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Statistics for cheat

Last Updated

20 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cheat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for cheat


How to pronounce cheat (audio)

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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