a crafty or underhanded device, maneuver, stratagem, or the like, intended to deceive or cheat; artifice; ruse; wile.
an optical illusion: It must have been some visual trick caused by the flickering candlelight.
a roguish or mischievous act; practical joke; prank: She likes to play tricks on her friends.
a mean, foolish, or childish action.
a clever or ingenious device or expedient; adroit technique: the tricks of the trade.
the art or knack of doing something skillfully: You seem to have mastered the trick of making others laugh.
a clever or dexterous feat intended to entertain, amuse, etc.: He taught his dog some amazing tricks.
a feat of magic or legerdemain: card tricks.
a behavioral peculiarity; trait; habit; mannerism.
a period of duty or turn; stint; tour of duty: I relieved the pilot after he had completed his trick at the wheel.
the group or set of cards played and won in one round.
a point or scoring unit.
a card that is a potential winner. Compare honor trick.
Informal. a child or young girl: a pretty little trick.
a prostitute's customer.
a sexual act between a prostitute and a customer.
a preliminary sketch of a coat of arms.
of, pertaining to, characterized by, or involving tricks: trick shooting.
designed or used for tricks: a trick chair.
(of a joint) inclined to stiffen or weaken suddenly and unexpectedly: a trick shoulder.
verb (used with object)
to deceive by trickery.
Heraldry. to indicate the tinctures of (a coat of arms) with engraver's tricks.
to cheat or swindle (usually followed by out of ): to trick someone out of an inheritance.
to beguile by trickery (usually followed by into ).
verb (used without object)
to practice trickery or deception; cheat.
to play tricks; trifle (usually followed by with ).
Slang. to engage in sexual acts for hire.
Verb phrases
trick out, Informal. to embellish or adorn with or as if with ornaments or other attention-getting devices.
do/turn the trick, to achieve the desired effect or result: Another turn of the pliers should do the trick.
turn a trick, Slang. (of a prostitute) to engage in a sexual act with a customer.

1375–1425; late Middle English trik (noun) < Old North French trique deceit, derivative of trikier to deceive < Vulgar Latin *triccāre, for Latin trīcārī to play tricks

tricker, noun
trickingly, adverb
outtrick, verb (used with object)
untricked, adjective

1. deception. T rick , artifice , ruse , stratagem , wile are terms for crafty or cunning devices that are intended to deceive. T rick , the general term, refers usually to an underhanded act designed to cheat someone, but it sometimes refers merely to a pleasurable deceiving of the senses: to win by a trick. Like trick , but to a greater degree, artifice emphasizes the cleverness, ingenuity, or cunning with which the proceeding is devised: an artifice of diabolical ingenuity. R use and stratagem emphasize the purpose for which the trick is designed; ruse is the more general term of the two, and stratagem sometimes implies a more elaborate procedure or a military application: He gained entrance by a ruse. His stratagem gave them command of the hill. W ile emphasizes the disarming effect of the trick upon those who are deceived: His wiles charmed them into trusting him. 18. See cheat. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
trick (trɪk)
1.  a deceitful, cunning, or underhand action or plan
2.  a.  a mischievous, malicious, or humorous action or plan; joke: the boys are up to their tricks again
 b.  (as modifier): a trick spider
3.  an illusory or magical feat or device
4.  a simple feat learned by an animal or person
5.  an adroit or ingenious device; knack: a trick of the trade
6.  a behavioural trait, habit, or mannerism
7.  a turn or round of duty or work
8.  cards
 a.  a batch of cards containing one from each player, usually played in turn and won by the player or side that plays the card with the highest value
 b.  a card that can potentially win a trick
9.  slang (Austral) can't take a trick to be consistently unsuccessful or unlucky
10.  informal do the trick to produce the right or desired result
11.  slang how's tricks? how are you?
12.  slang turn a trick (of a prostitute) to gain a customer
13.  to defraud, deceive, or cheat (someone), esp by means of a trick
[C15: from Old Northern French trique, from trikier to deceive, from Old French trichier, ultimately from Latin trīcārī to play tricks]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1412, "a cheat, a mean ruse," from O.N.Fr. trique "trick, deceit, treachery, cheating," from trikier "to deceive, to cheat," variant of O.Fr. trichier, probably from V.L. *triccare, from L. tricari "be evasive, shuffle," from tricæ "trifles, nonsense, a tangle of difficulties," of unknown origin.
Meaning "a roguish prank" is recorded from 1590; sense of "the art of doing something" is first attested 1611. The verb is first attested 1595. An earlier sense of "to dress, adorn" (c.1500) is perhaps a different word entirely. Meaning "prostitute's client" is first attested 1915; earlier it was U.S. slang for "a robbery" (1865). Trickery is first attested 1800; tricky is 1786 (earlier tricksy, 1596); trickster is from 1711. Trick-or-treat is recorded from 1947.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with trick, also see bag of tricks; confidence game (trick); dirty tricks; do the trick; hat trick; how's tricks; not miss a trick; teach an old dog new tricks; that does it (the trick); turn a trick; up to one's old tricks.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Coming soon to a playing field near you is a trick play so clever it's likely
  to be imitated on punt returns throughout the land.
Coming soon to a playing field near you is a trick play so clever it is likely
  to be imitated on punt returns throughout the land.
And he is still able to manage his consummate, his characteristic, trick-which
  is to glamorize self-pity.
Finally, something that's nifty though not exactly a trick.
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