Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
mid-15c., "to escheat," a shortening of Old French escheat, legal term for revision of property to the state when the owner dies without heirs, literally "that which falls to one," past participle of escheoir "befall by chance, happen, devolve," from Vulgar Latin *excadere "to fall away," from Latin ex- "out" (see ex-) + cadere "to fall" (see case (n.1)). Also cf. escheat. The royal officers evidently had a low reputation. Meaning evolved through "confiscate" (mid-15c.) to "deprive unfairly" (1580s). To cheat on (someone) "be sexually unfaithful" first recorded 1934. Related: Cheated; cheating.
late 14c., "forfeited property," from cheat (v.). Meaning "a deceptive act" is from 1640s; earlier, in thieves' jargon, it meant "a stolen thing" (late 16c.), and earlier still "dice" (1530s). Meaning "a swindler" is from 1660s.
To be sexually unfaithful; get a little on the side (1930s+)
A number of high-profile instances involving plagiarism and resume padding that were reported in 2001 continued to capture headlines in 2002 and to bring increased scrutiny to the methodology of cheating. Though historian Doris Kearns Goodwin maintained that the cribbing in her book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys (1987) was unintentional, her reputation was severely damaged, and in June she resigned her post on the Pulitzer Prize board. Fellow historian Stephen Ambrose apologized in January for having failed to acknowledge his source material in at least six books. (See Obituaries.) After Piper (Kan.) High School teacher Christine Pelton accused some students of having taken material from the Internet for a botany project, gave them all failing grades in 2001, and had her decision overruled by the school board in December, she resigned in February 2002; other teachers were inspired to follow suit as well, and the handling of the incident sparked a national uproar. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis lost his credibility and was suspended in 2001 for one year from teaching at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass., after it became known that he had fabricated stories about military exploits in Vietnam and subsequent activity in the peace and civil rights movements. Football coach George O'Leary lost his dream job in 2002 at the University of Notre Dame a few days after signing his contract when "inaccuracies" sprang up in his resume.