1

thimblerig

noun thim·ble·rig \ ˈthim-bəl-ˌrig \

Definition of thimblerig

1 : a swindling trick in which a small ball or pea is quickly shifted from under one to another of three small cups to fool the spectator guessing its location
2 : one who manipulates the cup in thimblerig : thimblerigger

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First Known Use of thimblerig

1826


2

thimblerig

verb

Definition of thimblerig

thimblerigged; thimblerigging
transitive verb
1 : to cheat by trickery
2 : to swindle by thimblerig

thimblerigger

noun

Examples of thimblerig in a Sentence

  1. had the feeling that I had just been thimblerigged by the sweetest-looking old lady

Did You Know?

The game of thimblerig seems innocent enough. The thimblerigger places a seed under one of three thimbles. He or she deftly scoots the thimbles around on a table, then asks the player to bet on which one hides the seed. But thimbleriggers are masters of sleight of hand and can move and manipulate the seed unfairly - so the guileless player doesn't stand a chance of winning. (The poor bettor is probably unaware that "rig" has meant "to manipulate or control usually by deceptive or dishonest means" since the 1800s.) When the same sham is played with nutshells, it's called a "shell game," and there's a related game played with cards known as "three-card monte."

First Known Use of thimblerig

1839



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