- a game, typically a swindle, in which spectators are challenged to bet on the location of a small object ostensibly concealed under one of three cups or nutshells manipulated by sleight of hand
- any scheme for tricking and cheating people
- A game, usually involving gambling, in which a person hides a small object underneath one of three nutshells, thimbles, or cups, then shuffles them about on a flat surface while spectators try to guess the final location of the object. Also called thimblerig.
- A fraud or deception perpetrated by shifting conspicuous things to hide something else.
(plural shell games)
- A game of skill which requires the bettor to guess under which of three small cups (shells) a pea-sized object has been placed after the party operating the game rapidly rearranges them, providing opportunity for sleight-of-hand trickery.
- Any confidence scheme, especially one involving the rapid movement of investment funds to a location beyond recovery.