View synonyms for confidence game

confidence game


  1. any swindle in which the swindler, after gaining the confidence of the victim, robs the victim by cheating at a gambling game, appropriating funds entrusted for investment, or the like.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of confidence game1

An Americanism dating back to 1855–60

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Idioms and Phrases

Also, confidence trick ; con game . A swindle in which the victim is defrauded after his or her trust has been won. For example, The police warned of a confidence game in which people were asked to turn over valuables for a so-called appraisal , or The typical confidence trick is easy to spot if you know what to look for , or I almost let myself be taken in by her con game—she seemed so sincere . These terms, which use confidence in the sense of “trust,” date from the mid-1800s. They also gave rise to confidence man (or con man) for the swindler.

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Example Sentences

That we know Earp not as a confidence man but as a duty-bound law officer was his most enduring and successful confidence game.

His was the first playing on a colossal scale of the now worn-out "get rich quick" confidence game.

But this to-day was a real confidence game as you might say.

The success which at the outset of party welfare attended this legalized confidence game drew into it more and more players.

After a long trial he was found guilty of obtaining money under the confidence game.

He knew he was honest himself, and did not once suspect that the agreeable young man was playing the confidence game upon him.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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