Word of the Day

Monday, January 31, 2011

thimblerig

\THIM-buhl-rig\ , verb;
1.
To cheat or swindle, as in the traditional shell game known as thimblerig.
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.
Quotes:
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
Origin:
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."
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