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pigeon drop

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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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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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. 2022

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