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Skulduggery

Skulduggery is general underhanded behavior or trickery, usually secret or devious. The plural form is skulduggeries, though the word is rarely used in this way since it means behavior in a general sense to begin with.

It can be spelled skullduggery, though the one l spelling is slightly more common. More importantly the one l spelling is listed first in the dictionary. The word seems to be a variant of a Scottish word sculduddery which meant lewd or obscene behavior. The origin of sculduddery is unknown.


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Skulduggery hit its peak in the 1940s, though it is still fairly well-known.

Examples

The latest allegation of skulduggery accuses Republican Party leaders of trying to remove Libertarian Party candidates from the Nov. 4 ballot, ostensibly to protect GOP candidate for governor Bruce Rauner. [Chicago Tribune]

Allegations of fraud, rumours of skulduggery started swirling last month. [National Post]

Many feel that Park owed her victory in part in 2012 to the skullduggery of the National Intelligence Service and in particular its director, who recently resigned. [Forbes]

But he does move in sharply at scrum time – he was picked up on it against the All Blacks – and whether it is a product of strength or skullduggery, no doubt it’ll be something that Wallabies scrum coach Andrew Blades and his tight-heads will be well aware of. [Sydney Morning Herald]

Not only do you have your own interactions and skulduggeries with each other but you’re also privy to what’s going in upstairs, which isn’t true the other way round. [STV]

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