1889, the game and the word said in an oft-told story to have been invented in India by British officers as a diversion from billiards. The name is perhaps a reference (with regard to the rawness of play by a fellow officer) to British slang snooker "newly joined cadet" (1872). Tradition ascribes the coinage to Col. Sir Neville Chamberlain (not the later prime minister of the same name), at the time subaltern in the Devonshire Regiment in Jubbulpore.
"to cheat," early 1900s, from snooker (n.), probably because in the game novices can easily be tricked. Related: Snookered; snookering.