\ 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 The Astros were trying to cheat history and become only the second team in baseball history to rally from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-7 playoff series. NBC News, "Tampa Bay Rays win American League pennant, will face Dodgers or Braves in World Series," 18 Oct. 2020 But federal prosecutors undercut that image on Thursday, saying Smith concealed income and evaded taxes for 15 years by using foreign trusts, corporations and bank accounts to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "Austin billionaire Robert Smith’s cooperation led to largest U.S. tax fraud case against fellow Texan," 16 Oct. 2020 Each side claims that the other is planning to cheat to win, setting up a tense day of voting that could serve as the start of a prolonged struggle for the presidential sash. Washington Post, "Bolivia’s election is a test for Latin American socialism — and democracy," 16 Oct. 2020 The film definitely critiques capitalism, but there's also this undercurrent of the hypocrisy of choosing to opt-out of the system by trying to cheat or steal your way around it. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "How Miranda July merges her sensibilities with the heist film in Kajillionaire," 25 Sep. 2020 Arise has faced, and lost, legal challenges alleging that its arrangements with agents violate federal labor law and cheat workers of what they are rightfully owed. Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, "Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You," 2 Oct. 2020 Also, this is not the first time Biden has been accused of trying to cheat while speaking publicly. Devon Link, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Allegations that Joe Biden wore an earpiece at town hall, debate are false," 29 Sep. 2020 But that process becomes tainted when petition circulators manipulate and cheat to serve their own agendas. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "What to know before signing a petition in Michigan," 29 Sep. 2020 Despite the name, cheat codes always had an altruistic side. David Silverberg, Popular Mechanics, "Game Breaking: How Cheat Codes Changed Video Games Forever," 27 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now Postle is hitting back at an array of poker luminaries who have publicly branded him a cheat. Brendan I. Koerner, Wired, "A Poker Pro Accused of Cheating Wants $330M in Damages," 6 Oct. 2020 The former Heisman winner at Louisville, Jackson is basically a cheat code for the Baltimore Ravens. Kelly Ward, The Courier-Journal, "Watch Lamar Jackson break loose for a 50-yard Baltimore TD run against Washington," 4 Oct. 2020 While some mistakenly see heels as a cheat deployed by shrimpy guys, naturally tall men look better in them, too. Wilbert L. Cooper, WSJ, "Why 2020 Should Be the Year of the Man-Heel," 1 Oct. 2020 Donald Trump is a con, a cheat, a phony, and a liar... Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Democrats critical, Republicans quiet on Trump tax returns," 28 Sep. 2020 In the ‘80s and ‘90s, video game cheat codes were a hot schoolyard commodity. David Silverberg, Popular Mechanics, "Game Breaking: How Cheat Codes Changed Video Games Forever," 27 Sep. 2020 Teams spend decades searching for a franchise quarterback, the one cheat code in their quest for perennial NFL contention. Childs Walker,, "How much is Lamar Jackson worth to Ravens? Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes offer glimpse at financial future.," 19 Sep. 2020 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

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

26 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cheat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 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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Comments on cheat

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