from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A game, usually involving gambling, in which a person hides a small object underneath one of three nutshells, thimbles, or cups, then shuffles them about on a flat surface while spectators try to guess the final location of the object. Also called thimblerig.
  • n. A fraud or deception perpetrated by shifting conspicuous things to hide something else.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A game of skill which requires the bettor to guess under which of three small cups (or shells) a pea-sized object has been placed after the party operating the game rapidly rearranges them, providing opportunity for sleight-of-hand trickery.
  • n. Any confidence scheme, especially one involving the rapid movement of investment funds to a location beyond recovery.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a swindling sleight-of-hand game; victim guesses which of three things a pellet is under


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Congress could then decide what its response was to the G-77’s dominance in budget debates, but at least we would not be participating in a shell game of accepting “consensus” decisions that really were no such thing.

    Surrender is not an Option


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