- a sleight-of-hand swindling game in which the operator palms a pellet or pea while appearing to cover it with one of three thimblelike cups, and then, moving the cups about, offers to bet that no one can tell under which cup the pellet or pea lies.
- to cheat by or as by the thimblerig.
Origin of thimblerig
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for thimble-rigging
Thimble-rigging has of late years given way to broad-working.The Slang Dictionary
John Camden Hotten
Some of these gentry play a game very much like thimble-rigging, in which copper cash, appears under different inverted teacups.
Some day or other a serious student wakes up to the fact that he is the victim of—shall we say a thimble-rigging game?An American at Oxford
- a game in which the operator rapidly moves about three inverted thimbles, often with sleight of hand, one of which conceals a token, the other player betting on which thimble the token is under
- (tr) to cheat or swindle, as in this game
C19: from thimble + rig (in obsolete sense: a trick, scheme)
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