Definition of cheat in English:

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Pronunciation: /tʃiːt/


1 [no object] Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage: she always cheats at cards
More example sentences
  • He has been painted by the Western press as a drunk, a psychotic, an unreconstructed Stalinist, and a guy who cheats at golf.
  • It's essentially telling them, either the state is over its head, or it simply is cheating and being dishonest.
  • And as long as the financial rewards for success are so lucrative there will always be an incentive to cheat in order to gain any advantage.
1.1 [with object] Gain an advantage over or deprive of something by using unfair or deceitful methods; defraud: he had cheated her out of everything she had
More example sentences
  • The practice becomes illegal when done surreptitiously to cheat the consumer or defraud the taxman.
  • As a result, English-speakers say that to defraud, swindle, or cheat someone is to ‘gyp’ them.
  • In his role as Consumer Affairs minister, Mr Sutcliffe has to keep up to date with the ever-more ingenious methods criminals employ to cheat and defraud us.
swindle, defraud, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, gull;
exploit, take advantage of, victimize
informal do, diddle, rip off, con, bamboozle, rob, fleece, shaft, sting, have, bilk, rook, gyp, finagle, flimflam, put one over on, pull a fast one on, take for a ride, lead up the garden path, sell down the river, pull the wool over someone's eyes
North American informal sucker, snooker, goldbrick, gouge, stiff, give someone a bum steer
Australian informal pull a swifty on
British informal, dated rush
archaic cozen, chicane, sell
rare illude, mulct
deprive of, deny, prevent from gaining, preclude from gaining;
rob of, do out of
1.2 informal Be sexually unfaithful: his wife was cheating on him
More example sentences
  • Of course, one of the women was also cheating on her lover with a man, which so infuriated her lover that it resulted in one woman killing the other in a jealous rage.
  • Another guy I know was cheating on his wife, but ultimately broke off the affair and went back to her.
  • Well, I found out his girlfriend's e-mail address, and under a false name I told her that her boyfriend had been cheating on her with me and a bunch of other girls.
commit adultery, be unfaithful, stray, be untrue, be inconstant, be false
informal two-time, play away, play around
2 [with object] Avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill: she cheated death in a spectacular crash
More example sentences
  • The 86-year-old had already cheated death several times.
  • But a Yorkshire honeymoon couple yesterday told how they cheated death - because they were too tired to go out after spending the day sightseeing.
  • A miracle baby who cheated death after being born four months early is today a ‘happy and healthy’ boy who has just celebrated his first birthday.
avoid, escape, evade, elude, steer clear of, dodge, duck, miss, sidestep, bypass, skirt, shun, eschew;
foil, frustrate, thwart, baulk, defeat


1A person who behaves dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.
Example sentences
  • Athletes who abide by the rules are up against cheats with a distinct advantage.
  • A benefits cheat who dishonestly claimed £22,000 while living a life of luxury said today that no amount of money could buy happiness.
  • An honest person will have friends who value honesty, and a dishonest one will have cheats as friends.
swindler, cheater, fraudster, trickster, confidence trickster, deceiver, hoaxer, hoodwinker, double-dealer, double-crosser, sham, fraud, fake, crook, rogue, charlatan, quack, mountebank, racketeer
informal conman, con artist, shark, sharper, phoney, hustler, flimflammer, flimflam man
British informal twister
North American informal grifter, bunco artist, gold brick, chiseller
Australian informal shicer, magsman, illywhacker
South African informal schlenter
dated confidence man, confidence woman
rare defalcator, tregetour
1.1An act of cheating; a fraud or deception.
Example sentences
  • Some casinos subscribe to the agency, which protects casinos from cheats and scams.
  • It is a sales gimmick, a cheat, a swindle, a scam.
  • The film has three slackers riding their way through college on scams, cheats and underhanded stunts.
swindle, fraud, deception, deceit, hoax, sham, trick, ruse, dodge, stratagem, blind, wile, Trojan horse;
trickery, imposture, artifice, subterfuge
informal con, leg-pull
1.2 [mass noun] A children’s card game, the object of which is to get rid of one’s cards while making declarations about them which may or may not be truthful.
Example sentences
  • Use all of your skill and cunning to beat your opponents in a breathtaking game of Cheat!
  • If I play a game of Cheat with my children, I must lie, because that is part of the game.


Late Middle English: shortening of escheat (the original sense).

  • This started out as a shortening of escheat, a legal term for the reverting of property to the state when the owner dies without heirs. As an extension of this, the word came to mean ‘to confiscate’, and then ‘to deprive someone of something unfairly’. Finally, the senses ‘to practise deception’ and ‘to try to get an advantage by breaking the rules’ came to the fore.

Words that rhyme with cheat

accrete, autocomplete, beet, bittersweet, bleat, cleat, clubfeet, compete, compleat, complete, conceit, Crete, deceit, delete, deplete, discreet, discrete, eat, effete, élite, entreat, escheat, estreat, excrete, feat, feet, fleet, gîte, greet, heat, leat, leet, Magritte, maltreat, marguerite, meat, meet, meet-and-greet, mesquite, mete, mistreat, neat, outcompete, peat, Pete, petite, pleat, receipt, replete, sangeet, seat, secrete, sheet, skeet, sleet, splay-feet, street, suite, sweet, teat, treat, tweet, wheat

For editors and proofreaders

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