Definition of cheat in English:



  • 1[no object] Act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.

    ‘she always cheats at cards’
    • ‘I am aware in New South Wales of many individuals who have been denied practice because they have either cheated on exams, or have committed some act of dishonesty.’
    • ‘So you had these excesses of deception and shenanigans and cheating.’
    • ‘Call it what you like - cheating, gaining an edge, professionalism - the world of football would be far less interesting without this kind of controversy to keep us all engaged.’
    • ‘Will they lie, cheat and steal to gain political power?’
    • ‘Lying, cheating, deception and duplicity only matter when you lose, for the winners rewrite history.’
    • ‘When the other side is dishonest, lying, or cheating or when a problem is impossible to resolve, no amount of negotiation will do you any good.’
    • ‘He has been painted by the Western press as a drunk, a psychotic, an unreconstructed Stalinist, and a guy who cheats at golf.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The athlete cheats and through his dishonesty he wins a gold medal and earns a considerable amount of money.’
    • ‘Self-interest is fine, but lying and cheating undermine the capitalism process.’
    • ‘That is why when cheating occurs, it is often done through the subtle hinting from city or county leaders.’
    • ‘But mostly, it is an attempt to cheat and gain effects by means other than by science.’
    • ‘Ford, playing a low-life hustler who cheats at cards and dice, has a soft, dark, sensuous look, sensitive rather than intelligent.’
    • ‘No matter what the outcome, cheating hurts the cause of school improvement.’
    • ‘At present it is a cheat's charter in which those doing the policing are those who gain most from cheating.’
    • ‘He says, any way you cut it, I mean anything you ingest in your body that gives you an unfair, competitive edge is cheating.’
    • ‘It's essentially telling them, either the state is over its head, or it simply is cheating and being dishonest.’
    • ‘Administrators may be able to overcome many bad decisions but never dishonesty, cheating or lying.’
    • ‘People would think twice about cheating if the penalty were imprisonment or a hefty fine.’
    • ‘I cheated on his trust and took advantage of his stoical nature.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘Counterfeiting and piracy cheats consumers, retailers, manufacturers and the Exchequer, and often funds criminal activity.’
      • ‘Let's make the case for the private sector, which is being unfairly treated / cheated.’
      • ‘It is blatant deception and will have left a lot of people feeling cheated and angry.’
      • ‘He cheated and ironically, he also felt cheated.’
      • ‘The private company involved was found to have been cheating consumers by being dishonest in the way it charged for its service.’
      • ‘Last year, Madrid police broke up a fraud ring that cheated hundreds of victims out of $35m through sweepstakes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The practice becomes illegal when done surreptitiously to cheat the consumer or defraud the taxman.’
      • ‘He pleaded guilty to cheating the public revenue with intent to defraud over a period of almost six years between August 1997 and March 2003.’
      • ‘Credit card fraud costs Irish banks more than €10m each year, while last year fraudsters cheated Britons out of €600m.’
      • ‘As a result, English-speakers say that to defraud, swindle, or cheat someone is to ‘gyp’ them.’
      • ‘The policies which were put in place left the work force feeling cheated since they had expected to gain control of industry, and there were strikes and unrest in the country.’
      • ‘Don't lump them in with the drug dealers and burglars deliberately cheating the state.’
      • ‘I'm sure I'm not the only one this weekend who feels a little duped, if not cheated, over a failed attempt to buy further tickets for the World Cup in Germany this summer.’
      • ‘A Southend con-man who cheated social security of more than £50,000 in benefits has failed in an Appeal Court bid to have his two-year jail term cut.’
      • ‘Would you cover your face after being cheated or swindled?’
      • ‘I hope nobody feels too cheated that I didn't manage to follow through.’
      • ‘I've been cheated, conned, hood winked and taken for a ride.’
      • ‘We both felt cheated having been convinced we deserved more.’
      • ‘I've met people who have foolishly spent beyond their means and I've also met a good number of people who have been cheated or swindled out of sizeable amounts.’
      swindle, defraud, deceive, trick, dupe, hoodwink, double-cross, gull
      deprive of, deny, prevent from gaining, preclude from gaining
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    2. 1.2informal Be sexually unfaithful.
      ‘his wife was cheating on him’
      • ‘Another guy I know was cheating on his wife, but ultimately broke off the affair and went back to her.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't trust my boyfriend, I don't believe a word he says, and I honestly believe he is cheating on me.’
      • ‘I didn't cheat on anyone, or date someone else to gain what I wanted.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't think I can resist cheating on my boyfriend.’
      • ‘Sometimes I even feel like I'm cheating on Mike by being in love with Ryan.’
      • ‘I know my husband is not cheating on me, but I feel as though he wishes he were still running around.’
      • ‘Next week, Shandi cheats on her boyfriend again, this time with an Italian dude, and then there is more yelling and crying on the phone with said cheated-on boyfriend.’
      • ‘I loved my husband very much, and I feel I would be cheating on him or tarnishing his memory for his boys if I started dating this soon.’
      • ‘He keeps cheating on her and she knows it, but she never leaves him.’
      • ‘Last year I discovered that my wife of more than a dozen years had been cheating on me with two different men: one for more than five years, the other for a little over a year.’
      • ‘I asked her if she was seeing someone else, and she denied it at first, but finally admitted to cheating on me.’
      • ‘He'd been cheating on me with some girl from the Internet as a way of avoiding the fact that we weren't getting along as well as we used to.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that on some level, I feel like I'm cheating on my husband, but obviously, there's nothing sexual between my friend and me.’
      • ‘I had broken up with him about a year before that because he had been cheating on me for nearly a year.’
      • ‘The most horrible part of it was, she was cheating on me and we were living together.’
      • ‘You were cheating on her up until two months ago?’
      • ‘I was going out with this one guy, Alex, and I found out he was cheating on me so I broke up with him over the phone.’
      • ‘He decided to speed up the breakup by cheating on me.’
      commit adultery, be unfaithful, stray, be untrue, be inconstant, be false
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  • 2[with object] Avoid (something undesirable) by luck or skill.

    ‘she cheated death in a spectacular crash’
    • ‘At home, the reward of having cheated death is tempered by new concerns.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A speeding driver who cheated death in a horrific collision has made a desperate plea for Swindon motorists to slow down.’
    • ‘Two men cheated death when they were rescued from freezing floodwaters after their dinghy capsized near Selby.’
    • ‘A terrifying cliff plunge left a group of friends counting their blessings when they cheated death during a drive in Kerry.’
    • ‘The 86-year-old had already cheated death several times.’
    • ‘A family of five cheated death when a blaze ripped through their loft on Thursday night.’
    • ‘A mother and her 13-month old baby cheated death by moments thanks to a dramatic rescue from their burning home in Kendal.’
    • ‘A grandfather who cheated death after suffering horrific burns on holiday has been dubbed a ‘walking miracle’.’
    • ‘A couple have told how they cheated death when a hurricane struck their hotel during a holiday from hell.’
    • ‘A man who cheated death in a blaze at his home today praised firefighters to whom he said he ‘owed his life’.’
    • ‘A family of five today told how they cheated death when a gas blast ripped through their York home on Christmas Day.’
    • ‘A climber who cheated death near the summit of Everest vows to return to the world's highest peak to finish the conquest.’
    • ‘In February last year when construction work had not long been underway, two builders cheated death when a concrete stairwell collapsed beneath them.’
    • ‘But a Yorkshire honeymoon couple yesterday told how they cheated death - because they were too tired to go out after spending the day sightseeing.’
    • ‘Nothing makes you feel more alive than thinking you've just cheated death.’
    • ‘A courageous schoolgirl has cheated death, not once but twice.’
    • ‘A motorist who cheated death when his car plunged into icy water has been told to pay a £70 bill for polluting a Yorkshire river.’
    • ‘Twice in the past two years Burns had cheated death.’
    • ‘A second Sutton family also cheated death in the natural disaster.’
    avoid, escape, evade, elude, steer clear of, dodge, duck, miss, sidestep, bypass, skirt, shun, eschew
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  • 1A person who behaves dishonestly in order to gain an advantage.

    • ‘The courteous, honest, plain dealing man in the market will always endure over the cheat and rogue or fraudster.’
    • ‘All of the medical expertise should be focused on getting tests that are sharp enough to catch even the most expert of cheats.’
    • ‘Chrissie paints a picture of Den as a liar and a cheat.’
    • ‘Athletes who abide by the rules are up against cheats with a distinct advantage.’
    • ‘As the trial unfolded, the press split between those who thought her a liar and a cheat, but believed the jury would acquit, and the loyalists.’
    • ‘However, if it leads to increased revenue to be spent on road improvements, motorists can only benefit in the end - and honest motorists will have the satisfaction of knowing they are no longer subsidising as many cheats.’
    • ‘They are all cheats, people say, all swindlers.’
    • ‘A benefits cheat who dishonestly claimed £22,000 while living a life of luxury said today that no amount of money could buy happiness.’
    • ‘With time, he becomes more and more impressed with the young woman - at the same time he discovers her artist husband is a liar and a cheat.’
    • ‘The man who closed the net on drug cheats at the Olympics warns that even tougher action to clean up sport is still to come’
    • ‘Housing benefit cheats on the Yorkshire coast face being pursued by debt collectors and the courts in a new purge on fraud which has already reduced the money owed to hard-pressed local chargepayers by nearly two-thirds.’
    • ‘These people are cheats, fraudsters, charlatans and hoaxers.’
    • ‘Now testing is the responsibility of the US Anti-Doping Agency, a no-holds-barred body that hunts drugs cheats relentlessly and ruthlessly.’
    • ‘He's a liar and a cheat, and merely being ‘quite reluctant’ to rely on him is far too weak a response.’
    • ‘The blood tests which snared three drugs cheats at last month's Winter Olympics could be missing from the anti-doping programme throughout Britain this year, including the Commonwealth Games.’
    • ‘The referee said I was a liar and a cheat, but my foot was injured at that time.’
    • ‘An honest person will have friends who value honesty, and a dishonest one will have cheats as friends.’
    • ‘He is a proven liar, a cheat and a chancer, a man so arrogant that he thought he was above the law.’
    • ‘Last year the district council prosecuted three benefit cheats, resulting in a total award of £9,000, with a further £7,000 in administrative penalties.’
    • ‘I do it in love, and charity, and compassion to your soul: I believe it to be a public duty to warn people against cheats, quacks, and impostors.’
    swindler, cheater, fraudster, trickster, confidence trickster, deceiver, hoaxer, hoodwinker, double-dealer, double-crosser, sham, fraud, fake, crook, rogue, charlatan, quack, mountebank, racketeer
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    1. 1.1An act of cheating; a fraud or deception.
      • ‘The number of fare cheats has now been reduced to about 1,500 a day.’
      • ‘It is a sales gimmick, a cheat, a swindle, a scam.’
      • ‘Of course we all want to be able to detect the lie, the cheat, the swindle, the manipulation.’
      • ‘The film has three slackers riding their way through college on scams, cheats and underhanded stunts.’
      • ‘The label could be a fake, a counterfeit, a cheat.’
      • ‘Has it been proved to you that there was a cheat on the Revenue, a conspiracy?’
      • ‘Corny story cheats become believable, and meaningful, because the whole story works this way.’
      • ‘Only at the end, when the director employs a cheat to offer one final plot twist, do things start to unravel.’
      • ‘And if the climactic surprise feels like a magician's cheat, at least we've been hoodwinked by a master.’
      • ‘Some casinos subscribe to the agency, which protects casinos from cheats and scams.’
      • ‘It's a bit of a cheat pretending that a town with a population of eleven thousand is a village, but in comparison to neighbouring Watford the place is positively rural.’
      swindle, fraud, deception, deceit, hoax, sham, trick, ruse, dodge, stratagem, blind, wile, trojan horse
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    2. 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.
      • ‘If I play a game of Cheat with my children, I must lie, because that is part of the game.’
      • ‘Use all of your skill and cunning to beat your opponents in a breathtaking game of Cheat!’


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