shell game was our Word of the Day on 06/08/2012. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of shell game in a Sentence
it's amazing how intelligent people fall for that investment-fund shell game
Recent Examples of shell game from the Web
At a rigged roulette wheel, they’re taxed at a higher rate than businesses or the wealthy, then, via shell game, suckered into subprime mortgages.
The latest story in the series, published today, shows how companies ordered to repay drivers who were cheated have used legal loopholes and shell games to avoid paying.
Monsignor O’Brien had already been sent to New Mexico and Washington, D.C. to receive treatment for his particular problem — the shell game of priest being shuffled around, but always kept in his role as an authority figure.
Even when the projects are well suited for the local economy, the result can look a bit like a shell game: Things are built, money goes to Chinese companies and the country is saddled with more debt.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shell game.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The shell game, a swindling trick in which a small ball or pea is quickly shifted from under one to another of three walnut shells or cups to fool the spectator guessing its location, is a version of one of the oldest and most widespread forms of sleight of hand. Conjurers have performed this trick, which is also called the cups and balls trick and thimblerig, throughout the world for centuries. The version that became popular in the United States in the late 19th century used walnut shells and peas. Shell game thus became the popular term for the trick, and the trick itself became so well known that the term is now used figuratively to describe dishonest actions that are done to deceive people.
First Known Use of shell game
shell game Synonyms
Synonymsbunco (or bunko), con, fiddle [chiefly British], flimflam, gyp, hustle, scam, fraud, sting, swindle
Related Wordscross, fix; Ponzi scheme, pyramid scheme; racket, rip-off; thimblerig, three-card monte; device, dodge, gimmick, jig, ploy, scheme, sleight, stratagem, trick, wile; gouging, overcharging, soaking; counterfeit, fake, forgery, hoax, humbug, phony (also phoney), sham
SHELL GAME Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of shell game for English Language Learners
: a dishonest betting game in which someone hides a ball under one of three cups or shells, moves the cups or shells around quickly, and asks an observer to guess which one the ball is under
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up shell game? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).