pigeon drop


noun

a confidence game or sleight-of-hand swindle whereby cash is extracted from the victim as collateral for a supposed share in a large sum of discovered money, dishonest profits, or gambling winnings, which in fact are nonexistent.

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WHO SAID IT: A QUIZ ON PRESIDENTIAL WIT AND WISDOM

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“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Origin of pigeon drop

1935–40, Americanism; so called because such swindles originally began with the dropping of a wallet in front of the intended victim, the pigeon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020