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.

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


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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