verb (used with object)
- to defraud; swindle: He cheated her out of her inheritance.
- to deceive; influence by fraud: He cheated us into believing him a hero.
- to elude; deprive of something expected: He cheated the law by suicide.
verb (used without object)
- to practice fraud or deceit: She cheats without regrets.
- to violate rules or regulations: He cheats at cards.
- to take an examination or test in a dishonest way, as by improper access to answers.
- Informal. to be sexually unfaithful (often followed by on): Her husband knew she had been cheating all along. He cheated on his wife.
- a person who acts dishonestly, deceives, or defrauds: He is a cheat and a liar.
- a fraud; swindle; deception: The game was a cheat.
- Law. the fraudulent obtaining of another’s property by a pretense or trick.
- an impostor: The man who passed as an earl was a cheat.
- to deceive or practise deceit, esp for one’s own gain; trick or swindle (someone)
- (intr) to obtain unfair advantage by trickery, as in a game of cards
- (tr) to escape or avoid (something unpleasant) by luck or cunningto cheat death
- (when intr, usually foll by on) informal to be sexually unfaithful to (one’s wife, husband, or lover)
- a person who cheats
- a deliberately dishonest transaction, esp for gain; fraud
- informal sham
- law the obtaining of another’s property by fraudulent means
- the usual US name for rye-brome
mid-15c., “to escheat,” a shortening of Old French escheat, legal term for revision of property to the state when the owner dies without heirs, literally “that which falls to one,” past participle of escheoir “befall by chance, happen, devolve,” from Vulgar Latin *excadere “to fall away,” from Latin ex- “out” (see ex-) + cadere “to fall” (see case (n.1)). Also cf. escheat. The royal officers evidently had a low reputation. Meaning evolved through “confiscate” (mid-15c.) to “deprive unfairly” (1580s). To cheat on (someone) “be sexually unfaithful” first recorded 1934. Related: Cheated; cheating.
late 14c., “forfeited property,” from cheat (v.). Meaning “a deceptive act” is from 1640s; earlier, in thieves’ jargon, it meant “a stolen thing” (late 16c.), and earlier still “dice” (1530s). Meaning “a swindler” is from 1660s.