skulduggery = Betrügerei, Gaunerei, Gemeinheit, Hinterlist, Schwindelei
The 2019 United Kingdom general election was, said The Economist, “Marinated in mendacity*: big lies and small lies; quarter truths and pseudo-facts; distortion, dissembling and disinformation; and digital SKULDUGGERY on an industrial scale.”
The public, the magazine reported, was so disillusioned with the political system that when, during a televised debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked if he valued truth, the audience burst into laughter.
*mendacity = Verlogenheit
skulduggery (U.S. English = skullduggery)
- secret and dishonest behaviour
- underhanded or unscrupulous behavior; a devious device or trick
The Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster
“Skulduggery” or “skullduggery” was first documented in the mid-19th century as scull-duggery.
Etymologists aren’t sure exactly how the word arrived in English, but they do not believe it has anything to do with skulls. It is possibly derived from the now-very-rare sculduddery, a term once used to refer to gross or improper conduct, but unfortunately the origins of that word are also unknown.
In ancient times, Olympic competitors would swear to Zeus that they would not cheat, and if caught, would face fines, humiliation, and lifetime bans from future competitions.
2,500 years later, times haven’t much changed. In a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey on January 13, 2013, Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner, confessed to having used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) throughout much of his career. He was subsequently stripped of all his Tour de France wins and forced to pay over $25m in damages and settlements.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Armstrong was worth approximately $125 million at the peak of his career. That has dropped considerably, but thanks to a $100,000 investment he made in Uber* when the company was worth $3.7 million, Armstrong’s net worth is approximately $50 million today.
*As of January 2023 Uber has a market cap of $60.55 billion
- a devious device or trick
allurement, angle, artfulness, beguilement, carryings-on, cheating, chicane(ry), deception, deviousness, dirty pool, double-crossing, double-dealing, duping, duplicity, every trick in the book, flimflam, funny business, gamesmanship, goings-on, guile, hanky-panky, high jinks, hocus-pocus, hokey-pokey, hoodwinking, horseplay, jiggery-pokery, jugglery, knavery, legerdemain, little game, machination(s), manoeuvring, monkey business, monkeyshines, monkey tricks, racket, ruse, scam, scheme, scheming, setup, sharp practice, shenanigans, SKULDUGGERY, smoke and mirrors, swindling, trickery, underhandedness, wire-pulling
SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:
“The 2017 documentary 'Icarus' is a fascinating exploration of doping SKULDUGGERY in Olympic Sports and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.”
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