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  • Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Thimble-rig a sleight-of-hand trick in which the performer conceals, or pretends to conceal, a pea or small ball under one of three thimble-like cups
    • ***


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. thýmel, a thumb-stall—thúma, a thumb. An extension of thumb.


In literature:

The constitutional thimble-rig is carried on to-day, dear boy, more seriously than ever.
"The Magic Skin" by Honore de Balzac
I can't speak to him for a minute on the poop without that thimble-rigging coon coming gliding up.
"Chance" by Joseph Conrad
So far as I could make out, the game had some analogy to our "thimble-rigging;" but appeared to be fairly played.
"California" by J. Tyrwhitt Brooks
Chalmers, just fill that thimble-rig once more.
"David Lockwin--The People's Idol" by John McGovern
No games can be suggested but Thread-my-needle, and Thimble-rig.
"Autumn Leaves" by Various
I can't speak to him for a minute on the poop without that thimble-rigging coon coming gliding up.
"Chance" by Joseph Conrad
I never heard of thimble-rigging.
"The Innocents" by Sinclair Lewis
Also, applied to any pendant and thimble through which running-rigging was led, now commonly called a lizard.
"The Sailor's Word-Book" by William Henry Smyth
I knew there was some thimble-rigging.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
Now to our mind this is simply intellectual thimble-rigging.
"Arrows of Freethought" by George W. Foote
Nothing venture nothing gain, is as true with ships' rigging, as thimble rigging, and we staked all our hopes on a rapid passage.
"Los Gringos" by H. A. (Henry Agustus) Wise
Anything short of this is intellectual thimble-rigging.
"The Book Of God" by G. W. Foote
Thimble-rigging, according to Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, was practised in ancient Egypt.
"A History of the Gipsies" by Walter Simson