Chicanery is a rather delightful word that refers to deceit or subterfuge, particularly in a political or corporate context. The term was first attested in English in 1589, when it was spelled chicanerie. Other forms around that time included chicannery, chiquanerey, chiquanery, and more; the modern spelling seems to have been standardized around the late seventeenth century, and it really peaked in usage in the 1760s. It was borrowed from French chicanerie, which meant "trickery" in general. That's from the verb chicaner, "to quibble", which has an unknown origin. The best theory we have is that it further traces to the Middle Low German word schicken, meaning "arrange". That would be from Proto-Germanic skikkijana and the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction skeg, which best translates to "jump".
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Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.