75 Synonyms for “Cheat,” “Fraud,” or “Trickery”

By Mark Nichol

Human beings have developed cheating, fraud, and trickery into such a high art (or, more accurately, a low one) that, in English at least, we’ve created an extensive and colorful vocabulary to describe such activity. Here is an exhaustive but incomplete list of synonyms in noun and/or verb form for cheat, fraud, and trickery.

1. Bamboozle: to deceive or undermine
2. Beat: to cheat
3. Beguile: to deceive or trick (or to lure)
4. Bilk: one who defrauds; to defraud (or evade or frustrate)
5. Bleed: to be the victim of extortion
6. Blind: see subterfuge
7. Bluff: an act of deception or misdirection; or to undertake such an act
8. Buffalo: to deceive
9. Bunco: a game or scheme designed to cheat someone
10. Burn: to deceive
11. Chicanery: deception
12. Chisel: to engage in unfair practices
13. Chouse: to cheat or trick
14. Con: one who cheats or manipulates, or an act or operation to that end; to cheat or manipulate (from confidence)
15. Cozenage: fraud (the verb form is cozen)
16. Craft: cunning (usually employed in the adjectival form crafty)
17. Crib: a method or device for cheating on a test; to cheat, or to have the habit of cheating, in this manner
18. Diddle: see swindle (verb form only)
19–20. Do (or do in): to cheat
21. Doctor: to alter or modify deceptively
22. Dodge: an act of deceit or a trick; to deceive or trick
23. Dupe: one who fools another, or the act of fooling (as dupery, the act of fooling or the condition of being fooled); to deceive or trick
24. Duplicity: using words or actions to deceive
25. End run: an evasive maneuver or trick
26. Euchre: to cheat or trick (also the name of a card game)
27. Feint: a fake attack or blow intended to distract the target from a real assault; to make such a move
28. Fiddle: see swindle (British English; also, also, to deceive by altering or manipulating)
29. Fix: an act or instance of influencing illegally or improperly; to influence illegally or improperly
30. Fleece: to perpetrate extortion or fraud (or to charge excessively)
31. Flimflam: fraud or deceit; or to subject someone to fraud or deceit
32. Front: an entity ostensibly responsible for something but masking the identity of the entity actually engaging in an endeavor; to act as the masking agent
33. Fudge: to fake or to go beyond the bounds of proper conduct
34. Gammon: deceitful talk; to deceive or fake
35. Gaff: a fraud, trick, or gimmick; to deceive or trick or set up a fraud or trick
36. Gull: one who is easy deceived (the root of gullible); to deceive
37. Gyp: one who cheats or deceives, or an act of cheating or deception; to cheat
38 Have on: to deceive or trick (British English)
39. Hoax: an act of deception, or something intended to deceive; to trick into accepting or believing something false
40. Hose: to cheat or trick
41. Humbug: something intended to deceive, or a deceptive person or attitude (also, nonsense); to deceive
42. Hustle: the act of deception to obtain or sell something; to use deception to obtain or sell something, or to lure others to gamble
43. Jig: a trick
44. Jugglery: deception or trickery; in verb form (juggle), to deceive or trick
45. Legerdemain: to deceive by distraction or misleading (literally, “sleight of hand”)
46. Mulct: to defraud or obtain by fraud (also, a fine, or to fine)
47. Nobble: to cheat (especially, in British English, by drugging a racehorse)
48. Pluck: see fleece
49. Put on: an act of deception or trickery (the noun form is hyphenated); to deceive or trick
50. Ream: to cheat
51. Rip off: an act of cheating or fraud (the noun form is hyphenated); to cheat or defraud (or to steal or copy)
52. Rook: to defraud
53. Scam: a deceptive or fraudulent act or operation; to deceive or defraud by such action
54. Screw: to extort or trick (also, to pressure or threaten)
55. Shake down: an act of obtaining money deceptively (the noun form is a closed compound); to obtain money deceptively
56. Sham: a trick (also, hypocrisy, or a counterfeit or imitation)
57. Shell game: see thimblerig
58. Short: see shortchange
59. Shortchange: to cheat by giving less than is due, or to cheat in general
60. Skin: see fleece
61. Skulduggery: devious behavior
62. Skunk: to cheat or fail to pay
63. Snooker: to cheat
64. Snow: to deceive (or charm or persuade)
65. Sophistry: argument or reasoning intended to deceive
66. Squeeze: to extort, or obtain by extorting
67. Stick: to cheat or to overcharge or trick into paying more
68. Stiff: to cheat by refusing or failing to pay
69. Sting: an act of cheating or charging excessively; to cheat or charge excessively
70. Subterfuge: trickery to conceal or evade
71. Sucker: one who is easily cheated or deceived; to cheat or deceive
72. Swindle: an act of deception or fraud to obtain something; to obtain something by deceit or fraud
73. Smoke screen: something intended to conceal or deceive
74. Thimblerig: a trick in which a small object is moved among three overturned cups and someone attempts to identify the cup it ends up under, or the person who performs the trick; to cheat this way or in general
75. Wile: a deceitful trick (also, one that is merely clever or playful), or skill in luring or tricking others (in the sense of luring, often plural)

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3 Responses to “75 Synonyms for “Cheat,” “Fraud,” or “Trickery””

  • Jeff

    Isn’t a dupe a person who IS fooled, not one who does the fooling?

  • Mark Nichol

    Jeff:

    You’re right: It should read, “One who is fooled by another.” Thanks for catching that.

  • Stephen Thorn

    It should be noted that “gyp” may be perceived as a racial or cultural slur and so should be used with discretion. The term is a contraction of Gypsies and alludes to their alleged swindling and stealing.

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