Top 47 Slang For Scheme – Meaning & Usage

When it comes to navigating the world of schemes and plots, having the right slang at your disposal can make all the difference. Join us as we uncover the top slang terms for scheme that will have you speaking like a seasoned strategist in no time. From “grift” to “con,” we’ve got you covered with the latest and most essential jargon in the game. So buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of scheming like never before!

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1. Scam

A scam refers to a fraudulent or deceptive act or scheme designed to trick or deceive someone for personal gain. It involves dishonesty and often results in financial loss for the victim.

  • For example, “He fell for an online scam and lost all his savings.”
  • A person might warn others by saying, “Beware of phone scams that ask for your personal information.”
  • In a discussion about online security, someone might say, “Always be cautious of email scams that ask for your bank details.”

2. Con

A con, short for confidence trick, is a scheme or fraudulent act in which the perpetrator gains the trust or confidence of the victim and then exploits it for personal gain. It often involves manipulation and deceit.

  • For instance, “He was conned into investing in a fake business.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “The key to a successful con is gaining the victim’s trust.”
  • A person might warn others by saying, “Don’t fall for the con artist’s charm and promises.”

3. Hustle

To hustle means to engage in dishonest or fraudulent activities with the intention of deceiving or tricking someone. It often involves quick thinking and smooth talking to convince others to part with their money or belongings.

  • For example, “He hustled unsuspecting tourists by selling counterfeit merchandise.”
  • In a discussion about street scams, someone might say, “Watch out for the hustle where they ask for money upfront and disappear.”
  • A person might warn others by saying, “Don’t get caught up in the hustle of get-rich-quick schemes.”

4. Grift

Grift refers to a con game or a fraudulent scheme in which the perpetrator tricks or deceives someone for personal gain. It often involves manipulation, persuasion, and exploitation of the victim’s trust.

  • For instance, “He fell victim to a grift where he was promised a large return on his investment.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “The grifters used elaborate tactics to gain the victim’s confidence.”
  • A person might warn others by saying, “Be aware of the grift that targets vulnerable individuals.”

5. Racket

A racket refers to an illegal or dishonest business or scheme that aims to make money through fraudulent or deceptive means. It often involves organized criminal activities and can span various industries.

  • For example, “He was involved in a gambling racket that operated underground.”
  • In a discussion about organized crime, someone might say, “The racketeers controlled the drug trade in the city.”
  • A person might warn others by saying, “Stay away from the racket that promises easy money but involves illegal activities.”

6. Plot

In the context of slang, “plot” refers to a scheme or plan, often with a deceptive or dishonest intention. It can be used to describe a clever or intricate plan to achieve a certain outcome.

  • For example, “He came up with a plot to trick his boss into giving him a raise.”
  • In a discussion about a complicated heist movie, someone might say, “The plot of that movie was so well-executed.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a plan for revenge, saying, “She plotted her revenge against her ex-boyfriend for months.”

7. Swindle

To “swindle” someone means to deceive or cheat them, often out of money or valuables. It implies a deliberate and dishonest scheme to trick someone and take advantage of them.

  • For instance, “He was swindled out of his life savings by a fraudulent investment scheme.”
  • In a conversation about scams, someone might say, “Don’t fall for that email scam, it’s a total swindle.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a dishonest salesperson, saying, “He tried to swindle me by selling me a fake Rolex.”

8. Ploy

A “ploy” is a cunning or deceptive maneuver used to achieve a specific goal or outcome. It often involves using clever tactics or strategies to manipulate a situation or person.

  • For example, “Her ploy to get out of doing chores was pretending to be sick.”
  • In a discussion about political strategies, someone might say, “That was a clever ploy to win over undecided voters.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a distraction or diversion, saying, “He used a ploy to distract the security guards while he made his escape.”

9. Game

In slang, “game” can refer to a scheme or scam designed to deceive or trick someone. It implies a level of cunning or strategy used to manipulate a situation or person.

  • For instance, “He fell victim to a game where someone pretended to be a long-lost relative.”
  • In a conversation about online fraud, someone might say, “Be careful not to fall for those online dating games.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a clever strategy, saying, “She played a game to get the promotion she wanted.”

10. Trick

To “trick” someone means to deceive or fool them, often through clever or cunning means. It implies a deliberate act of deception or manipulation to achieve a desired outcome.

  • For example, “He tricked his friends into thinking he had a famous relative.”
  • In a discussion about magic tricks, someone might say, “That illusionist can perform mind-boggling tricks.”
  • A person might use the term to describe a clever tactic, saying, “She used a trick to win the argument and prove her point.”

11. Sting

A sting refers to a scam or fraud, often involving deceit or trickery to deceive someone and take advantage of them.

  • For example, “He fell for the sting and lost all his money.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might warn, “Be careful of falling for a sting and giving away your personal information.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t believe they pulled off such an elaborate sting operation.”

12. Setup

A setup refers to the arrangement or plan of a scheme, often involving the careful organization of events or circumstances to achieve a desired outcome.

  • For instance, “The setup was flawless, and they executed the scheme perfectly.”
  • In a conversation about a complex plot, someone might say, “The setup required meticulous planning and attention to detail.”
  • A person might describe a situation as a setup, saying, “It feels like a setup to get me in trouble.”

13. Gimmick

A gimmick refers to a trick or strategy used to deceive or manipulate someone in a scheme.

  • For example, “The salesperson used a gimmick to convince customers to buy their product.”
  • In a discussion about marketing tactics, someone might say, “Using a catchy jingle is a common gimmick to attract attention.”
  • A person might describe a scheme as having a gimmick, saying, “Their scheme relies on a gimmick to lure unsuspecting victims.”

14. Con job

A con job refers to a deceptive act or scheme designed to trick or deceive someone for personal gain.

  • For instance, “He was the mastermind behind the con job that swindled thousands of dollars.”
  • In a conversation about fraud, someone might warn, “Watch out for con jobs that promise quick and easy money.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t believe I fell for their con job and lost all my savings.”

15. Fast one

Pulling a fast one refers to a deceptive trick or action used to deceive or manipulate someone in a scheme.

  • For example, “He thought he could pull a fast one on me, but I saw through his lies.”
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “Don’t let them pull a fast one on you; be skeptical and ask questions.”
  • A person might describe a scheme as involving a fast one, saying, “Their plan relies on pulling a fast one to catch people off guard.”

16. Flimflam

Flimflam refers to dishonest or deceptive behavior, often used to trick or deceive someone for personal gain.

  • For example, “Don’t fall for his flimflam, he’s just trying to take your money.”
  • Someone might say, “That salesman is full of flimflam, don’t believe his promises.”
  • A person might warn, “Watch out for flimflam artists who try to scam you out of your personal information.”

17. Dodge

Dodge is a term used to describe the act of evading or avoiding something, often used in the context of schemes or dishonest actions.

  • For instance, “He’s always trying to dodge his responsibilities and get out of work.”
  • A person might say, “I had to dodge his attempts to manipulate me into doing something I didn’t want to do.”
  • Someone might warn, “Be careful, he’s known for dodgy dealings and shady schemes.”

18. Shenanigans

Shenanigans refers to playful or mischievous behavior, often used to describe dishonest or deceitful actions.

  • For example, “They were up to their usual shenanigans, trying to pull off another scam.”
  • A person might say, “I don’t trust him, he’s always involved in some sort of shenanigans.”
  • Someone might warn, “Stay away from their shenanigans, they’re just trying to take advantage of you.”

19. Swizz

Swizz is a slang term used to describe a swindle or cheating action, often used in the context of schemes or fraudulent behavior.

  • For instance, “He tried to swizz me out of my money with a fake investment opportunity.”
  • A person might say, “Watch out for swizzers who promise big returns but deliver nothing.”
  • Someone might warn, “Don’t fall for their swizz, it’s just a ploy to take advantage of you.”

20. Snare

Snare refers to a trap or trick set to capture or deceive someone, often used in the context of schemes or fraudulent activities.

  • For example, “He fell into their snare and lost all his savings.”
  • A person might say, “Be careful, they’re setting a snare to catch unsuspecting victims.”
  • Someone might warn, “Avoid their snare, it’s designed to lure you into their dishonest schemes.”

21. Artifice

Artifice refers to the use of cleverness or cunning to deceive or trick someone. It often involves the use of deception to achieve a desired outcome.

  • For example, a con artist might use artifice to convince someone to give them money.
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “The artifice used in that scheme was incredibly elaborate.”
  • A person might warn, “Be careful of those who use artifice to manipulate others.”

22. Ruse

Ruse refers to a deceptive action or plan intended to deceive or trick someone. It often involves creating a false impression or diverting attention.

  • For instance, a spy might use a ruse to distract the enemy and gain access to sensitive information.
  • In a conversation about pranks, someone might say, “That was quite a ruse you pulled on your friend.”
  • A person might warn, “Don’t fall for their ruse, they’re just trying to take advantage of you.”

23. Sham

Sham refers to something that is fake or fraudulent, often intended to deceive or trick others. It can also refer to a person pretending to be something they’re not.

  • For example, a counterfeit product is a sham because it’s not the genuine item.
  • In a discussion about dishonesty, someone might say, “The whole operation was a sham from the beginning.”
  • A person might caution, “Don’t be fooled by their sham, they’re not who they claim to be.”

24. Jive

Jive refers to deceptive or misleading talk, often used to confuse or trick someone. It can also refer to a style of language or slang.

  • For instance, a used car salesman might use jive to convince a customer that a car is in better condition than it actually is.
  • In a conversation about manipulation, someone might say, “Don’t listen to their jive, they’re just trying to manipulate you.”
  • A person might warn, “Be wary of those who use jive to deceive others.”

25. Shell game

Shell game refers to a deceptive gambling game where a small object, such as a ball, is hidden under one of three shells or cups. The shells are then shuffled and the player must guess which shell the object is under.

  • For example, a street hustler might use a shell game to trick unsuspecting people out of their money.
  • In a discussion about scams, someone might say, “The shell game is a classic con that preys on people’s desire to win.”
  • A person might caution, “Don’t get caught up in the shell game, it’s impossible to win.”

26. Double-cross

This term refers to the act of betraying or deceiving someone, especially after gaining their trust. It is often used in the context of schemes or scams.

  • For example, “He thought they were business partners, but she double-crossed him and took all the profits.”
  • In a movie plot, a character might say, “I never saw the double-cross coming. It was a complete surprise.”
  • A person discussing a scam might warn, “Be careful who you trust, or you might end up being double-crossed.”

27. Ponzi

Named after Charles Ponzi, this term refers to a fraudulent investment scheme where investors are promised high returns with little risk. However, the returns are actually paid using funds from new investors, rather than from actual profits.

  • For instance, “He got caught running a Ponzi scheme and was sentenced to prison.”
  • A news article might report, “The Ponzi scheme collapsed when investors realized they couldn’t withdraw their funds.”
  • A financial expert might explain, “Ponzi schemes rely on a constant influx of new investors to sustain the illusion of profitability.”

28. Fiddle

In the context of schemes, “fiddle” refers to the act of manipulating or tampering with something, often for personal gain or deception.

  • For example, “He fiddled with the accounting records to make it look like the company was making more money than it actually was.”
  • In a conversation about fraud, someone might say, “The CEO was caught fiddling with the company’s expenses to fund his lavish lifestyle.”
  • A person discussing a scam might advise, “Always double-check your financial statements to make sure no one is fiddling with the numbers.”

29. Cabal

In the context of schemes, a “cabal” refers to a secret group of individuals who conspire together to achieve a particular goal, often through deceit or manipulation.

  • For instance, “The cabal planned to take over the company by ousting the current CEO.”
  • In a political discussion, someone might say, “There’s a cabal of powerful individuals pulling the strings behind the scenes.”
  • A person discussing conspiracy theories might claim, “The cabal is controlling the world through their secret agenda.”

30. Knack

When used in the context of schemes, “knack” refers to a particular skill or talent for carrying out deceitful or manipulative actions.

  • For example, “He had a knack for convincing people to invest in his fraudulent schemes.”
  • In a discussion about con artists, someone might say, “Having a knack for reading people’s vulnerabilities is what makes them successful.”
  • A person warning others about scams might advise, “Beware of individuals who seem to have a knack for getting you to trust them too quickly.”

31. Wile

A wile is a clever or cunning trick or deception used to achieve a specific goal. It often involves manipulating or deceiving others through sly or crafty means.

  • For example, “He used his wiles to convince her to lend him money.”
  • In a discussion about political tactics, someone might say, “Politicians often employ various wiles to gain public support.”
  • A character in a novel might be described as having “a bag of wiles” to outsmart their opponents.
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32. Subterfuge

Subterfuge refers to the use of deceptive strategies or trickery to achieve a desired outcome. It involves concealing one’s true intentions or motives through cunning or deceit.

  • For instance, “She used subterfuge to gain access to classified information.”
  • In a discussion about espionage, someone might say, “Agents often rely on subterfuge to infiltrate enemy organizations.”
  • A character in a movie might be described as a master of subterfuge, always staying one step ahead of their enemies.

33. Chicanery

Chicanery refers to deceitful or dishonest maneuvering, often for personal gain or advantage. It involves using clever or tricky tactics to deceive or manipulate others.

  • For example, “The businessman was known for his chicanery in closing deals.”
  • In a discussion about legal cases, someone might say, “Lawyers sometimes resort to chicanery to sway the jury.”
  • A character in a play might be described as engaging in chicanery to achieve their goals.

34. Jape

A jape is a playful or mischievous prank or trick. It involves teasing or fooling someone in a lighthearted or humorous manner.

  • For instance, “He played a jape on his friend by hiding his car keys.”
  • In a discussion about April Fools’ Day, someone might share, “I pulled a jape on my co-worker by filling their office with balloons.”
  • A character in a comedy movie might be known for their hilarious japes and practical jokes.

35. Machination

Machination refers to an intricate and secret plot or scheme, often carried out with ulterior motives. It involves carefully planned and calculated actions to achieve a specific outcome.

  • For example, “The villain’s machinations were finally exposed, revealing his true intentions.”
  • In a discussion about political conspiracies, someone might say, “There are always hidden machinations behind the scenes of power.”
  • A character in a thriller novel might be involved in a web of machinations, trying to outsmart their adversaries.
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36. Stratagem

A stratagem refers to a clever plan or scheme, especially one used to deceive or outwit someone.

  • For example, “He used a stratagem to trick his opponents and win the game.”
  • In a discussion about military tactics, someone might say, “A successful general must be skilled in devising effective stratagems.”
  • A person describing a clever trick might say, “Her stratagem for getting out of doing chores was brilliant.”

37. Fraud

Fraud refers to an intentional act of deception or scam to gain unfair or unlawful advantage, often involving financial gain.

  • For instance, “He was arrested for committing fraud by falsifying financial documents.”
  • In a discussion about online scams, someone might say, “Beware of phishing emails that attempt to steal your personal information – they are a form of fraud.”
  • A person warning others about a dishonest business might say, “That company is a known fraud, don’t trust them with your money.”

38. Gyp

To gyp means to cheat or swindle someone out of something, often involving money or goods.

  • For example, “He gyped me out of my share of the profits.”
  • In a conversation about a dishonest salesperson, someone might say, “Watch out for that guy, he’s known to gyp customers.”
  • A person describing a situation where they were deceived might say, “I got gyped when I bought that counterfeit product.”

39. Snow job

A snow job refers to deceptive or misleading talk, often used to convince or persuade someone to believe something that is not true.

  • For instance, “The politician’s speech was just a snow job to win votes.”
  • In a discussion about advertising tactics, someone might say, “Don’t fall for their snow job – they’re just trying to sell you something you don’t need.”
  • A person describing a situation where they were deceived might say, “I thought the product was great based on their snow job, but it turned out to be a disappointment.”

40. Fast shuffle

A fast shuffle refers to a deceptive or evasive action, often used to avoid responsibility or trick someone.

  • For example, “He tried to pull a fast shuffle by blaming someone else for his mistake.”
  • In a conversation about a dishonest business practice, someone might say, “They’re experts at the fast shuffle – they always find a way to avoid taking responsibility.”
  • A person describing a situation where they were tricked might say, “I fell for their fast shuffle and ended up losing money.”

41. Foul play

Foul play refers to any dishonest or unfair actions taken to gain an advantage. It can be used to describe illegal or unethical behavior in various situations.

  • For example, in sports, if a player intentionally breaks the rules to gain an advantage, it is considered foul play.
  • In a game of poker, if a player cheats by hiding cards or manipulating the outcome, it is considered foul play.
  • In a business deal, if someone uses deceptive tactics to gain an unfair advantage, it is considered foul play.
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42. Slick

Slick is a term used to describe someone who is clever, smooth, or skilled at deceiving others. It can be used to describe someone who is able to manipulate situations or people to their advantage.

  • For instance, a con artist who is able to trick people out of their money might be described as slick.
  • In a political context, a candidate who is able to manipulate public opinion through clever tactics might be described as slick.
  • In a sales setting, a person who is able to convince others to buy something they don’t need through smooth talking might be described as slick.

43. Trickery

Trickery refers to the use of deceitful or cunning tactics to deceive or manipulate others. It can be used to describe actions or behavior that is intended to deceive or mislead.

  • For example, a magician who performs tricks to deceive the audience is using trickery.
  • In a prank or practical joke, the person pulling the prank is using trickery to deceive the target.
  • In a competition or game, if someone uses deceptive tactics to gain an advantage, it is considered trickery.

44. Deceit

Deceit refers to the act of intentionally misleading or deceiving others. It involves the use of lies, falsehoods, or other forms of dishonesty to trick or manipulate others.

  • For instance, if someone lies about their qualifications to get a job, they are engaging in deceit.
  • In a relationship, if one partner hides information or lies about their actions, they are engaging in deceit.
  • In a legal context, if someone provides false testimony or withholds evidence, they are engaging in deceit.

45. Concoction

Concoction refers to a plan or scheme that has been devised or concocted. It can be used to describe a clever or elaborate plan that has been carefully thought out.

  • For example, if a group of friends comes up with a plan to surprise another friend with a birthday party, it can be described as a concoction.
  • In a heist or caper movie, the elaborate plan that the characters come up with to carry out a robbery can be described as a concoction.
  • In a mystery novel, the plot twist that reveals the villain’s elaborate scheme can be described as a concoction.

46. Intrigue

This term refers to the act of plotting or planning something in a secretive or underhanded manner. It often implies a sense of mystery or excitement surrounding the scheme.

  • For example, “The group of spies was involved in a web of intrigue, working behind the scenes to manipulate events.”
  • In a political context, one might say, “The candidate’s campaign was filled with intrigue and backroom deals.”
  • A journalist might write, “The story unfolded with a sense of intrigue as more details about the scandal were revealed.”

47. Collusion

Collusion refers to a secret agreement or cooperation between individuals or groups, often with the intent to deceive or manipulate others.

  • For instance, in a business context, one might say, “The two companies were accused of collusion to fix prices and eliminate competition.”
  • In a political context, a journalist might report, “There are allegations of collusion between the government and certain interest groups.”
  • A detective investigating a crime might suspect, “There appears to be collusion among the suspects to cover up the evidence.”