Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[skuhl-duhg-uh-ree] /skʌlˈdʌg ə ri/
noun, plural skullduggeries.


[skuhl-duhg-uh-ree] /skʌlˈdʌg ə ri/
noun, plural skulduggeries.
dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery:
bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery.
an instance of dishonest or deceitful behavior; trick.
Also, skullduggery.
Sometimes, sculduggery, scullduggery.
Origin of skulduggery
1705-15, Americanism; variant of sculduddery, orig. Scots: fornication, obscenity < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for skullduggery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Very likely he's up to some skullduggery, sir," Matt opined.

    Cappy Ricks Peter B. Kyne
  • After a little conversation to assure themselves that there was no skullduggery afoot, the truckers consented.

    The Knack of Managing

    Lewis K. Urquhart and Herbert Watson
  • He would be cagey enough to stay ignorant of any overt strife or any other skullduggery that could be laid at his door.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • We utilize persuasion, skullduggery, and even force to subvert their institutions, to destroy their present culture.

    Black Man's Burden Dallas McCord Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for skullduggery


(informal) underhand dealing; trickery
Word Origin
C19: altered from earlier Scot sculduddery; of obscure origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for skullduggery



1856, apparently an alteration of Scottish sculdudrie "adultery" (1713), sculduddery "bawdry, obscenity" (1821), a euphemism of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for skullduggery



Shady behavior; dirty work, hanky-panky

[1867+; a US alteration of Scots sculduddery, ''bawdry, obscenity,'' which is attested from the early 18th century]

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

Word of the Day

Nearby words for skullduggery

Word Value for skullduggery

Scrabble Words With Friends