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From French chicanerie (trickery), from chicaner, borrowed from Middle Low German schicken, ultimately from Proto-West Germanic *skikkijan, from Proto-Germanic *skikkijaną. Related to German schicken (to send, ship), Middle English skekken (to send forth, issue).


  • IPA(key): /ʃɪˈkeɪn(ə)ɹi/
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chicanery (countable and uncountable, plural chicaneries)

  1. (uncountable) Deception by the use of trickery, quibbling, or subterfuge.
    Synonyms: dishonesty, fakery, fraud, trickery, subterfuge
    • 1823, Charles Lamb, “Popular Fallacies”, in Elia, new edition, London: Edward Moxon, published 1835, →ISBN, page 241:
      They do not always find manors, got by rapine or chicanery, insensibly to melt away, as the poets will have it; or that all gold glides, like thawing snow, from the thief’s hand that grasps it.
    • 2017, Gordon Smith, “Chicanery”, in Better Call Saul, season 3, episode 5, spoken by Chuck McGill (Michael McKean):
      He covered his tracks, he got that idiot at the copy shop to lie for him. You think this is something? You think this is bad? This? This chicanery? He's done worse. That billboard! Are you telling me that a man just happens to fall like that? No! He orchestrated it! Jimmy!
    • 2019 April 28, Alex McLevy, “Game Of Thrones Suffers the Fog of War in the Battle against the Dead (Newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 31 May 2021:
      Having survived “The Long Night,” Daenerys will now be turning her attention back to the problem that originally vexed her: Cersei Lannister. It will be interesting to see how the show tries to raise the stakes of an internecine squabble between competing monarchs when compared to an existential threat to humanity’s very existence, but this series has always excelled when it goes deep on the machinations of political chicanery.
  2. (countable) An individual act of trickery or deception.
    • 2015 April 16, Carla Rivera, “Colleges grapple with cheating in the digital age”, in Los Angeles Times[2], Los Angeles, Calif.: Los Angeles Times Communications, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2023-10-03:
      Stanford University's honor code dates to 1921, written by students to help guide them through the minefield of plagiarism, forbidden collaboration, copying and other chicaneries that have tempted undergraduates since they first arrived on college campuses.
  3. (uncountable, archaic) The quality of being inclined to trickery or deceitfulness.
    • 1771, [Tobias Smollett], The Expedition of Humphry Clinker [], volume II, London: [] W. Johnston, []; and B. Collins, [], →OCLC, pages 118–119:
      He carried home with him all the knaviſh chicanery of the loweſt pettifogger, together with a wife whom he had purchſed of a drayman for twenty pounds; and he ſoon found means to obtain a Dedimus as an acting juſtice of peace.
  4. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (countable, law) A slick performance by a lawyer.

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