Sharpers

sharper

[shahr-per]
noun
1.
a shrewd swindler.
2.
a professional gambler.
Also, sharpie.


Origin:
1560–70; sharp + -er1

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World English Dictionary
sharper (ˈʃɑːpə)
 
n
a person who cheats or swindles; fraud

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

sharp
O.E. scearp "cutting, keen, sharp," from P.Gmc. *skarpaz, lit. "cutting" (cf. O.S. scarp O.N. skarpr O.Fris. skerp Du. scherp Ger. scharf "sharp"), from PIE *(s)ker- "cut" (cf. Lett. skarbs "sharp," M.Ir. cerb "cutting;" see shear). The fig. meaning "acute or penetrating in
intellect or perception" is from O.E. The meaning "promptly" is first attested 1840. The musical meaning "half step above a given tone" is from 1576. Phrase sharp as a tack first recorded 1912 (sharp as a needle has been around since O.E.).

sharp
"a cheat at games," 1797, short for sharper (1681), probably a variant of sharker (see shark). Meaning "expert, connoisseur" is attested friom 1840, and likely is from sharp (adj.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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