1. [mid-19C–1930s] a version of the three-card trick, in which punters are asked to bet on which of three rapidly manipulated thimbles contains a pea; it is very rare that anyone other than the sharper’s accomplice manages to bet correctly.
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
3. [mid-19C] in fig. use of sense 1, corrupt, deceptive .
4. [mid-19C] trickery, deception.
[mid-19C] deceptive, cheating.