shell game


a sleight-of-hand swindling game resembling thimblerig but employing walnut shells or the like instead of thimblelike cups.
any deceit, swindle, fraud, or the like.

Origin of shell game

An Americanism dating back to 1885–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for shell game


Examples from the Web for shell game

Historical Examples of shell game

  • He had not yet learned to keep away from the shell-game wagons that followed the circus.

    O Pioneers!

    Willa Cather

  • I got the school by a sort of shell-game, which the board worked on themselves.

    The Brown Mouse

    Herbert Quick

British Dictionary definitions for shell game

shell game


the US name for thimblerig
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