Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day (prettygoodword) wrote in 1word1day,
Larry's Pretty Good Word of the Day
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thimblerig

thimblerig (THIM-buhl-rig) - n., the shell game.


That is, the most common of the many alternate names for the sleight-of-hand swindle in which an operator palms a pea or pellet while appearing to cover it with one of three walnut shells, thimbles, cups, bottle caps, whatevers, shuffles the shells, and bets a mark that they can't tell where the pea is. It's an old con, but when it exploded in popularity in the late 19th century, thimbles were the common cover -- the -rig being using an old slang sense of a trick or scheme, as in a rigged game. Which this is. Even if the operator is working alone -- which he won't be, as he'll have partners posing as audience members -- you can't win this one so don't try.

Thom lost all his paycheck to thimblerig before he even got to the first bar, the idiot.

---L.
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