One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
mass noun A game of Mexican origin played with three cards, similar to three-card trick.
- ‘This game is often called three-card monte in America, a name taken from monte, a Spanish game using 45 playing cards, which was once common in Mexico and California.’
- ‘Part of his plan is to develop the same skills at three-card monte that Lincoln, who has given up cards, used to have.’
- ‘In truth, he was a card cheat of remarkable dexterity who routinely cleaned out the sophisticates in games of three-card monte.’
- ‘On the sidewalk he sees a man playing three-card monte.’
Early 19th century: Spanish, literally ‘mountain’, also ‘heap of cards left after dealing’ (from an earlier game of chance played with forty-five cards).
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