chicanery

noun chi·ca·nery \ -ˈkān-rē , -ˈkā-nə- \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of chicanery

plural chicaneries
1 : deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : trickery
  • He wasn't above using chicanery to win votes.
2 : a piece of sharp practice (as at law) : trick
  • resorted to political chicaneries
  • financial chicaneries

chicanery was our Word of the Day on 07/22/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of chicanery in a Sentence

  1. He wasn't above using chicanery to win votes.

  2. that candidate only won the election through chicanery

Recent Examples of chicanery from the Web

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

chicanery Has Roots in French

We have hardly any words that do so fully expresse the French clinquant, naiveté … chicaneries. So lamented English writer John Evelyn in a letter to Sir Peter Wyche in 1665. Evelyn and Wyche were members of a group called the Royal Society, which had formed a committee emulating the French Academy for the purpose of "improving the English language." We can surmise that, in Evelyn's estimation, the addition of chicanery to English from French was an improvement. What he apparently didn't realize was that English speakers had adopted the word from the French chicanerie before he wished for it; the term appears in English manuscripts dating from 1609. Similarly, clinquant ("glittering with gold or tinsel") dates from 1591. Naïveté, on the other hand, waited until 1673 to appear.

Origin and Etymology of chicanery


CHICANERY Defined for English Language Learners

chicanery

noun

Definition of chicanery for English Language Learners

  • : actions or statements that trick people into believing something that is not true : deception or trickery



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