Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shear v.

[SE shear a sheep]

to fool, to trick.

implied in sheep-shearer under sheep n.
[US]G. Etherege ‘Mr. Etheredge’s Answer’ in Thorpe Etheredge: Poems (1963) 38: With care, I cheard the sneaking wretch.
[US]Albany Microscope (NY) 2 June n.p.: Bogardus and Clark, knights of the thimble, goose and bodkin [...] have shear-ed us out of 3.75.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 10: ‘What a youth [...] green as grass’ [...] Never mind, he’s plenty of wool on his back!’ [...] ‘Right shop for getting it shorn in’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 3 June 3/4: [headline] shorn by delilah. / The Richest Man in Paw Paw, Michigan, Gets Into a Rich Scrape.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Sept. 5/3: ‘Better get shorn,’ remarked one rising metallician: ‘I’ll buy the fleece.’ ‘Thanks,’ replied the meek young man; ‘when I want to be fleeced this is the shed I will come to.’ And as he passed on the books thought that they had not ‘skinned the lamb’ that time.
[UK]R.H. Savage Brought to Bay 106: A couple of California mine manipulators going over to London to shear those fat-witted sheep, the British investors.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 7 Jan. 4/8: Up at Gingin I was counted quite a don at shearing time / [...] / And now it seems that I’ve in turn been well and truly shorn.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 25 July 12/2: ‘[S]ojers is dead easy mutton. Gawstruth, it's a mercy they've got overcoats, or us blokes’d be bashful about shearin’ [...] the poor lambs!’.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 14 Sept. [synd. col.] Here were ‘wise guys’ who spent their days shearing the sheep and yet at night they proved to be ‘heavy sugar daddies.’.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Shearing a lamb, stealing a married man’s money or jewelry in a speak easy or night club.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Sing Sing Sweeney’ in Crack Detective Jan. 🌐 And, boy, was he going to shear this sheep!
[US]N. Algren ‘The Last Carousel’ in Texas Stories (1995) 140: They’d sheared the rubs and flapped the jays, flimflammed them at the jam auctions and suckered them at thre-card monte.