1 of 2


cheated; cheating; cheats

transitive verb

: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud
cheated the elderly couple out of their property
: to influence or lead by deceit, trick, or artifice
a young man who cheated young women into marrying him when he was already married
: to elude or thwart by or as if by outwitting
cheat death

intransitive verb

: to practice fraud or trickery
denied the accusation that he cheated
: to violate rules dishonestly
cheat at cards
cheating on a test
: to be sexually unfaithful
usually used with on
was cheating on his wife
: to position oneself defensively near a particular area in anticipation of a play in that area
the shortstop was cheating toward second base


2 of 2


: the act or an instance of fraudulently deceiving : deception, fraud
His financial activity turned out to be a great cheat.
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
: one that cheats : pretender, deceiver
is a liar and a cheat
tax cheats
[probably from a deceptive resemblance to grain]
: the obtaining of property from another by an intentional active distortion of the truth
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
Recent Examples on the Web
Stanford’s president and a high-profile physicist are among those taken down by a growing wave of volunteers who expose faulty or fraudulent research papers An award-winning Harvard Business School professor and researcher spent years exploring the reasons people lie and cheat. Nidhi Subbaraman, WSJ, 24 Sep. 2023 But … he was cheated to a pulp in the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 24 Sep. 2023 Many East Germans feel cheated by the unequal way that reunification was carried out—jobs cut, welfare slashed, and public property auctioned off. Samuel Clowes Huneke, The New Republic, 22 Sep. 2023 Over the past year, many rumors around the end of the pair’s relationship have made the rounds — from cheating allegations to a jar of strawberry jam. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 21 Sep. 2023 Mockery gave way to outrage when stories of students falsely accused of cheating due to GPTZero began to flood Reddit. Christopher Beam, WIRED, 14 Sep. 2023 Nicole thought her husband was standing up for a president who had been cheated out of an election victory. Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2023 Watson grew up with that story, which was also becoming the Navy’s story—the daring squadron commander defying all odds, cheating death, seizing his place in the world. Longreads, 5 Sep. 2023 Cardi had to fend off accusations that her husband Offset was cheating again, while Meg had to sit through all the drama that came before Tory Lanez was sentenced for shooting her in the foot. Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023
Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act set aside tens of billions of dollars for the IRS to intensify its enforcement of tax cheats. Erin Slowey, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2023 These days, though, the biggest story about welfare cheats isn’t about the poor making off with a few dollars in undeserved aid. Time, 23 Aug. 2023 In a new interview with ET Canada, the country music icon, 56, shared that his wife, 55, has a knack for cooking Southern food, including his favorite cheat meal. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 23 Aug. 2023 Similar to bouillon powder or instant dashi, Vegeta is a cheat code for boosting flavor. Sam Smart, Bon Appétit, 22 Aug. 2023 Now, the fires are fed by invasive species such as cheat grass, Mediterranean split grass and Sahara mustard that litter the desert floor. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 3 Aug. 2023 Some cheat developers even create private undetectable versions of cheats that are sold at a premium to those desperate to have a competitive edge. Tom Warren, The Verge, 3 Aug. 2023 The Pillow Talk kit comes with several staples from the Charlotte Tilbury line including the pillow talk matte revolution lipstick, the pillow talk lip cheat pencil and the hyaluronic happikiss lipstick. Meredith Woerner, Variety, 17 July 2023 Team Ricochet is a department within Activision focused on identifying and dealing with cheats in the Call of Duty games. Matthew Humphries, PCMAG, 30 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cheat.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

earlier cheat forfeited property, from Middle English chet escheat, short for eschete — more at escheat

First Known Use


1590, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cheat was in 1590

Dictionary Entries Near cheat

Cite this Entry

“Cheat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to deprive of something valuable by dishonest methods
cheated them out of their property
: to successfully avoid or oppose by or as if by cleverness
the daredevil had cheated death again
: to use unfair or dishonest methods to gain an advantage
cheat on a test
cheat at cards
cheater noun


2 of 2 noun
: an act of cheating
: a person who cheats

More from Merriam-Webster on cheat

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