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shell game

a sleight-of-hand swindling game resembling thimblerig but employing walnut shells or the like instead of thimblelike cups.
any deceit, swindle, fraud, or the like.
Origin of shell game
1885-90, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for shell game

shell game

the US name for thimblerig
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for shell game

shell game

noun phrase

A swindle; confidence game; scam: I'm afraid this proposed merger looks like a shell game

[1890+; fr a version of three-card monte played with a pea or other token under walnut shells]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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