from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A fool or dupe.
  • transitive verb To fool; cheat.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fellow; a “cove”; especially, a verdant fellow who is easily deceived, tricked, or imposed on, as by a sharper, jilt, or strumpet; a mean dupe.
  • To deceive; trick, cheat, or impose upon; jilt; gull.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A person easily deceived, tricked, or imposed on; a mean dupe; a gull.
  • transitive verb To trick, cheat, or impose on; to deceive.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A person who is easily tricked or imposed on; a dupe, a gullible person.
  • noun slang A companion.
  • verb To trick, to impose on, to dupe.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from cullion.]


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  • Suppose, for instance, that an actor gets drunk and makes a fool of himself; or an actress gets hold of a rich cully and makes a fool of him! The green-room is sure to ring with all the particulars, and a few more than are true.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 5 ch. 1

    September 19, 2008

  • (noun) - (1) One that maintains a mistress, and parts with money generously to her.

    --B.E.'s Dictionary of the Canting Crew, 1699

    (2) A companion, mate. One who is cheated or imposed upon by a sharper, strumpet, etc. One easily deceived. Much in use in the 17th century . . . Compare Italian coglionare, "to foist, to deceive."

    --Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908

    January 14, 2018

  • "Meanwhile the French siren, balked in her design upon her English cully, who was so easily disheartened, and hung his ears in manifest despondence, rather than run the risk of making a voyage that should be altogether unprofitable, resolved to practise her charms upon the Dutch merchant."

    — Smollett, Peregrine Pickle

    May 2, 2022