skin game


noun

a dishonest or unscrupulous business operation, scheme, etc.
any cheating or fraudulent trick.

Origin of skin game

An Americanism dating back to 1865–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skin game

  • The skin-game artists and shilabers, cheaters, flimflammers, and medicine men flock to these gatherings as flies to a picnic.

    David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney
  • Ye tried to kill a thousand-dollar bird by a skin-game, and I'll have it out of your hide.

  • And because grafters, shilabers, and skin-game artists follow circuses, the public thinks these are a part of it.

    David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney
  • I suppose it's some parental promise she's made, or some skin-game buyer has been through here and threw a wrench in the gears.

    David Lannarck, Midget|George S. Harney

British Dictionary definitions for skin game

skin game

noun

slang a swindling trick
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