AskDefine | Define cheating

Dictionary Definition

cheating adj
1 not faithful to a spouse or lover; "adulterous husbands and wives"; "a two-timing boyfriend" [syn: adulterous, cheating(a), two-timing(a)]
2 violating accepted standards or rules; "a dirty fighter"; "used foul means to gain power"; "a nasty unsporting serve"; "fined for unsportsmanlike behavior" [syn: cheating(a), dirty, foul, unsporting, unsportsmanlike] n : a deception for profit to yourself [syn: cheat]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An act of deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition.


  1. present participle of cheat


Extensive Definition

Cheating is an act of lying, deception, fraud, trickery, imposture, or imposition. Cheating characteristically is employed to create an unfair advantage, usually in one's own interest, and often at the expense of others. Cheating implies the breaking of rules. The term "cheating" is less applicable to the breaking of laws, as illegal activities are referred to by specific legal terminology such as fraud or corruption. Cheating is a primordial economic act: getting more for less, often used when referring to marital infidelity.


Another venue where cheating has occurred is in sport. An implicit agreement exists among participants that they will play by the rules and eschew unfair measures to win. Cheaters violate the spirit and/or the letter of the rules of competition. Examples include Ben Johnson's disqualification for doping in the 1988 Summer Olympics or the admissions of steroid use by former professional baseball players after they have retired, such as José Canseco and Ken Caminiti.
Cheating refers to more than using illegal substances. Perhaps the most famous example of cheating in professional sport took place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup when Diego Maradona used his hand to punch the ball into the back of the net past the England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. Using the hand or arm by anyone other than a goalkeeper is illegal according to the rules of football.
Another example of cheating frequently seen in sports is the use of non-regulation (vis-a-vis the rules) equipment. A baseball pitcher putting graphite or Vaseline on the baseball, to make it exit his hand faster is a good example of this.
Circumvention of rules governing conduct and procedures of a sport is also cheating. Erstwhile Indiana University men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson was ousted from his position for persistent circumvention of rules. Sampson, over a period of 7 years (including his tenure at The University of Oklahoma) circumvented an NCAA rule designed to protect minor student-athletes from incessant interruption of their home lives and studies. The rule forbids college coaches from contacting student-athletes during periods when students are expected to be focusing on school, family life, and high-school team practices. Between his tenure at Oklahoma and Indiana, Sampson evaded this rule over 600 times, thus giving his teams an unfair recruiting advantage over opponents.
Attempting to intentionally injure an opponent is an instance of poor sportsmanship that borders on cheating.
Yet another example of cheating in a competition was found in the world-renowned St.Cloud Minnesota 88.1 KVSC 50-hour trivia contest, held February 8th-10th of 2008. A team competing in the contest, Chairleg Of Truth, changed facts on Wikipedia to conceal the answers to many questions asked throughout the competition. The team was then officially dubbed Chairleg of Un-Truth, and subjected to numerous boo's and hisses at the concluding award ceremony.


Cheating in gambling is practiced to gain an unfair advantage over one's opponents or the casino, usually for monetary gain, but also to win wagers having a non-monetary forfeit. In poker and other card games, the cards can be manipulated by a skilled cheater. In casino settings, cards can be counted to predict when cards of a particular denomination are more likely to be dealt, and casinos regard this as an unfair advantage. Other gambling activities such as roulette and craps can give rise to cheating by the use of rigged equipment like loaded dice or rigged roulette wheels.
Gambling on sports events can give opportunities for cheating where a participant in the sport is disadvantaged (e.g. doping of horses) or disadvantages himself (e.g. a boxer "taking a dive") so that the outcome is known to selected gamblers who take advantage of this fact in placing bets.

Strength training

Cheating is also used to refer to movements in strength training that transfer weight from an isolated or fatigued muscle group to a different or fresh muscle group. This allows the cheater to move an initial greater weight (if the cheating continues through an entire training set) or to continue exercising past the point of muscular exhaustion (if the cheating begins part way through the set). As strength training is not a sport, cheating has no rule-based consequences, but can result in injury or a failure to meet training goals. This is because each exercise is designed to target specific muscle groups and if the proper form is not used the weight can be transferred away from the targeted group. However cheating can be beneficial if done correctly, proper instruction will help to avoid injury.

Personal relationships

With regard to human relationships, couples tend to expect sexual monogamy of each other. If so, then cheating commonly refers to forms of infidelity, particularly adultery.. However, there are other divisions of infidelity, which may be emotional. Cheating by thinking of, touching and talking with someone you are attracted to may equally be as damaging to one of the parties. Emotional cheating may be correlated to that of emotional abuse, which to date is treated as seriously in a court of law as physical cheating. With the expansion of understanding of other cultures, there is a wide spectrum of what cheating means. When in a committed relationship, the definition of cheating is based on both parties opinions and both parties may redefine their understanding to match the party at an either lower or higher extreme of this definition. Some couples simply believe that cheating constitutes doing anything, whether verbal or physical, that one would not do in front of their significant other. Such examples would include: expressing attraction to another person, kissing, making out, and sexual relations.
Many people consider cheating to be any violation of the mutually agreed-upon rules or boundaries of a relationship, which may or may not include sexual monogamy. For example, in some polyamorous relationships, the concepts of commitment and fidelity do not necessarily hinge on complete sexual or emotional monogamy. Whether polyamorous or monogamous, the boundaries to which people agree vary widely, and sometimes these boundaries evolve within each relationship.

In video games

There are various forms of cheating in video games. In Role Playing Games one of the most popular methods is using "trainer" programs, which usually greatly inflate player's stats/attributes. In Strategy (real-time or turn-based) games, similar programs are often used to maximize player's own resources, or weakening opponents. Modifying game data files is also popular way to cheat in games. This mostly applies to computer games.
Attitudes to cheating vary. On one hand, cheating allows casual players to complete games at much-accelerated speed, and this is especially helpful nowadays as typical RPG games can take well over one-hundred hours to finish. For single-player games, this is largely a matter of taste. On the other hand, as internet-based multilayer games, such as MMORPG games are becoming more and more popular, cheating in those types of games are often prohibited. Most games now have cheat codes that help players in the game.

Ecological relationships

Main article Cheating (biology).
Between organisms of different species, cheating often refers an individual of a species not upholding its end of a cooperative bargain. For example, nectar robbers are birds and insects that are often related to or mimic pollinating species; however, nectar robbers take nectar from a flower without actually engaging in pollination.


  • David Callahan. (2004). The Cheating Culture. Harvest Books.
  • Stuart P. Green. (2006). Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White Collar Crime. Oxford University Press.
  • Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything


cheating in French: Triche
cheating in Dutch: Valsspelen
cheating in Japanese: カンニング
cheating in Polish: Ściąganie
cheating in Finnish: Vilppi
cheating in Swedish: Fusk
cheating in Contenese: 茅招
cheating in Chinese: 作弊
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