skulduggery

[skuhl-duhg-uh-ree]
noun, plural skul·dug·ger·ies.
  1. dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery.
  2. an instance of dishonest or deceitful behavior; trick.
Also skull·dug·ger·y.Sometimes scul·dug·ger·y, scull·dug·ger·y.

Origin of skulduggery

1705–15, Americanism; variant of sculduddery, orig. Scots: fornication, obscenity < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for skulduggery

skulduggery

US skullduggery

noun
  1. informal underhand dealing; trickery

Word Origin for skulduggery

C19: altered from earlier Scot sculduddery; of obscure origin
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

Word Origin and History for skulduggery
n.

1856, apparently an alteration of Scottish sculdudrie "adultery" (1713), sculduddery "bawdry, obscenity" (1821), a euphemism of uncertain origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper