(Latin: cheat, swindle; to defraud with deceptions or delusions)

chicanery (s) (noun), chicaneries (pl)
1. The use of a dishonest method to deceive people; usually to illegally obtain money from them: The bank president used an advanced form of chicanery to hide his criminal activities.
2. Deception or trickery, especially by the clever manipulation of language in legal matters: The chicanery with which the con man attempted to snare his next victim impressed the local police who finally caught him.
3. A quibble or subterfuge used to trick, to deceive, or to evade: P.T. Barnum's level of chicanery induced many people to visit his exhibitions and when they were inside the exhibition of natural and artificial curiosities from every corner of the globe, he kept traffic moving through the tent with a sign that said, This way to the egress.

Since most of the visitors didn't know that it meant "exit", they would have had to pay another quarter to return to the exhibit if they wanted to see anything that they might have missed.

4. Etymology: borrowed from French chicanerie, "trickery, deception"; from Middle French chicanerie, from chicaner, "to quibble, to quarrel, to confuse with crafty argument".

Although this word did not originate from this cozen- unit, it was placed here because its meanings fit the contents of this group of entries.

The use of trickery to deceive someone in in legal matters.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Shrewd deception to complete a sale.
© ALL rights are reserved.

The use of trickery to gain unfair advantages.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Deceitful actions.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
for a list of additional Mickey Bach illustrations.

countercozen (verb), countercozens; countercozened; coountercozening
To cheat an impostor in retaliation for his or her dishonesty: Mary's efforts to countercozen the professional crook who tricked her out of money was not successful.
cozen (KUHZ uhn) (verb), cozens; cozened; cozening
1. To cheat or to rob someone by persuasion: When everything else failed, the estate manager tried to cozen his elderly client into leaving the bulk of her estate to him when she passed away.
2. To mislead by means of a thievish trick: The crook tried to cozen his girlfriend into selling her jewelry so he could get the money from her with a promise of paying her back.
3. To persuade or to induce someone to do something by cajoling or wheedling (persuading by flattery or guile): Many operas have villains who try to cozen the innocent heroine, persuading her of his love.
4. Etymology: from about 1573; earlier, cozener, "a cheater"; perhaps it was borrowed from French cousiner, a claim to be a cousin for some advantage, "a cheater" who pretends to be honest; from cousin or developed from Middle English cosyn, "a fraud, trickery".

Actually of uncertain origin, maybe even from Old French coçon, "dealer", from Latin cocionem, "horse dealer". In other words, the real origin of this and its related formats is unknown!

I think it no sin

To cozen him that would unjustly win.

—William Shakespeare: "All’s Well that Ends Well", iv. 2.
To cheat, to defraud for a petty reason.
© ALL rights are reserved.

To act dishonestly, to deceive with a little trick.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
for a list of additional Mickey Bach illustrations.

cozenage (s) (noun), cozenages (pl)
1. An immoral or corrupt business scheme via the process of hoaxing or fooling someone: The police had been informed of John Brown’s cozenage and so they obtained a warrant for his arrest.
2. An act of persuading people to do something that deprives them of valuable possessions: The famous courtesan, or prostitute, obtained much of her wealth and jewelry with the cozenage of the wealthy old men who came to her establishment.
3. An artifice or deceptive maneuver; the practice of cheating: The river boat gambler obtained great sums of money with his cozenage of the other players.
cozened (adjective), more cozened, most cozened
Betrayed or hoodwinked: Convinced that he had been defrauded by the cozened buyer of his wheat, the farmer called the police.
cozener (s) (noun), cozeners (pl)
1. Someone who is a faker and a lier: The river boat gambler was an old-fashioned cozener who was always trying to take advantage of innocent travelers.
2. Anyone who acts with artful deceit; an impostor: The leader of the worship ceremony was in fact a cozener who was not licensed to preside over a church.
3. A person who misleads by fooling others into doing something that is illegal: Carol's cousin had a marriage ceremony that was performed by a cozener who was not authorized to perform such services.
cozening (adjective), more cozening, most cozening
1. Relating to misleading and fooling others: Kerri was so charming that people frequently overlooked her cozening personality traits.
2. Pertaining to artful deceit by pretending to be honest: The leader of the tourist group was often acting in a cozening manner by inventing historical references where none existed.
3. Characteristic of deceiving another person or people: Jim told Bonita to quit her cozening talk and to leave him alone.

Although the cartoon is a verb, it still helps to explain what this adjective entry means.

Using a To cheat someone with a trivial trick.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
for a list of additional Mickey Bach illustrations.

cozeningly (adverb), more cozeningly, most cozeningly
Descriptive of a misleading characteristic: Etta's deceitful and cozeningly smooth smile often tricked people into believing her even when she was not telling the truth.