Ever been ripped off at three card monte or some other con? Well, you're the victim of a shenanigan, a clever form of deception, usually designed to part the unwary from their money.

Not all shenanigans are financially motivated; an equally popular meaning is simply high spirits or boisterous behavior that might upset or annoy others, though usually not with any serious intent. It seems to be a word frequently applied to the Irish, with their established love of the high-spirited and artful ploy, and in fact may well come from the ancient Irish word sionnach, meaning "fox" — a traditionally sly beast.

Definitions of shenanigan

n the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to extract money from them)

chicane, chicanery, guile, trickery, wile
dupery, fraud, fraudulence, hoax, humbug, put-on
something intended to deceive; deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage
artful trickery designed to achieve an end
anything that is supposed to be valuable but turns out to be worthless
Type of:
deceit, deception, dissembling, dissimulation
the act of deceiving

n reckless or malicious behavior that causes discomfort or annoyance in others

devilment, devilry, deviltry, mischief, mischief-making, mischievousness, rascality, roguery, roguishness
blaze, hell
noisy and unrestrained mischief
monkey business
mischievous or deceitful behavior
hooliganism, malicious mischief, vandalism
willful wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others
Type of:
misbehavior, misbehaviour, misdeed
improper or wicked or immoral behavior

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