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thimblerig

[thim-buh l-rig] /ˈθɪm bəlˌrɪg/
noun
1.
a sleight-of-hand swindling game in which the operator palms a pellet or pea while appearing to cover it with one of three thimblelike cups, and then, moving the cups about, offers to bet that no one can tell under which cup the pellet or pea lies.
verb (used with object), thimblerigged, thimblerigging.
2.
to cheat by or as by the thimblerig.
Origin
1815-1825
1815-25; thimble + rig
Related forms
thimblerigger, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for thimble-rigger

thimblerig

/ˈθɪmbəlˌrɪɡ/
noun
1.
a game in which the operator rapidly moves about three inverted thimbles, often with sleight of hand, one of which conceals a token, the other player betting on which thimble the token is under
verb -rigs, -rigging, -rigged
2.
(transitive) to cheat or swindle, as in this game
Derived Forms
thimblerigger, noun
Word Origin
C19: from thimble + rig (in obsolete sense: a trick, scheme)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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