Word of the Day Archive
Monday January 31, 2011
1. To cheat or swindle, as in the traditional shell game known as thimblerig.
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.
Vending wonder, big diversions with little fibs, my father loved to play the game, cog the die, and thimblerig the ear, offering up the pleasure of an afternoon s deception.
-- Lee Siegel, Love and Other Games of Chance
"I do not permit any man to thimblerig his debts to me into my debts to him." Burbank seemed deeply moved.
-- Roger Rosenblatt, Beet: A Novel
Thimblerig as a verb derives from the con artist's game of the same name. The word is a combination of thimble, the small metal cap used in sewing, and rig, in the archaic sense of "to trick or scheme."