thimblerigging

thimblerig

[thim-buhl-rig]
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:
1815–25; thimble + rig

thimblerigger, noun
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World English Dictionary
thimblerig (ˈθɪmbəlˌrɪɡ)
 
n
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
 
vb , -rigs, -rigging, -rigged
2.  (tr) to cheat or swindle, as in this game
 
[C19: from thimble + rig (in obsolete sense: a trick, scheme)]
 
'thimblerigger
 
n

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