What is a word that shows some being good at playing with someone gullibility?

  • 2
    A "con man" (short for confidence man) or a psychopath. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 20:35
  • 1
    Yes, "psychopath" is the term for someone who does this well and often. Alas, in addition to the con men, there are many businessmen and politicians who would register high on the psychopath scale if tested.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 20:37
  • How do you intend to use this word? Please provide an example sentence. Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 21:11
  • 1
    Psychopath is definitly not the word you want. This really needs an example. Recognizing and being able to leverage gullibility is not a pathology. Better ones below.
    – user116032
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 22:28
  • @user116032 - Where's your evidence?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 3:01

4 Answers 4



:a person who controls people to their own advantage.

Cambridge Eng. Dic.


Trickster, defined by Merriam Webster:

a : a dishonest person who defrauds others by trickery

b : a person (as a stage magician) skilled in the use of tricks and illusion

c : a cunning or deceptive character appearing in various forms in the folklore of many cultures

In Norse mythology, the god Loki is the trickster; in Navaho folklore, it is coyote is the trickster; European tales, it is often Reynaud, the fox. See Wikipedia.

Scammer is another possibility. From Cambridge Dictionaries Online:

someone who makes ​money using ​illegal ​methods, ​especially by ​tricking ​people

Neither a trickster nor a scammer need be a psychopath, although some undoubtedly are. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is a very old saying.

One could go on forever on this topic, but I'll give just one example, the advance-fee scam:

...is a type of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears


The term you are looking for may be "psychopath," which unlike the fictional Hannibal Lecter, may be a successful and well-liked attorney, businessman, Wall Street banker or politician. A psychopath is defined as: "a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc." from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/psychopath

Most psychopaths are not killers and do not necessarily resort to violent behavior. Some psychologists have postulated that a psychopath is the next step in human brain evolution, a person better adapted to succeed in modern civilization by not having any empathy for the suffering of others, looking to advance only himself (or herself), while deftly manipulating others to do their bidding.

In medicine, a psychopath is defined as "a person with an antisocial personality disorder, especially one manifested in perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior" from "The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary" at ibid.

  • I totally agree with your first two sentences, and totally disagree with the other two. Incarceration, at least in the U. S., is most often related to poverty, gangs replacing the nuclear family, the use or sale of drugs that have been criminalized, race (i. e., being a young Latino or African-American male), & other sociological factors that have little to do with psychopathy. Some inmates are psychopaths, of course, but there is no established correlation that I am aware of between psychopathy and the percentage of the population that is incarcerated. Most psychopaths are not in prison. Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 21:36

If the context relates to money or games consider Shark, defined by Cambridge Eng. Dic. :

: a ​dishonest ​person, ​especially one who ​persuades other ​people to ​pay too much ​money for something: People who need a ​place to ​live can often ​find themselves at the ​mercy of ​local ​property sharks.

Also see card-shark (and card-sharp) Etymology in wikipedia for more context :

According to the prevailing etymological theory, the term "shark", originally meaning "parasite" or "one who preys upon others" (cf. loan shark), derives from German Schorke or Schurke ('rogue' or 'rascal'), as did the English word "shirk[er]". "Sharp" developed in the 17th century from this meaning of "shark" (as apparently did the use of "shark" as a name for the fish), but the phrase "card sharp" predates the variant "card shark".

The original connotation was negative, meaning "swindler" or "cheat", regardless of spelling, with the more positive connotations of "expert" or "skilled player" arising later, and not supplanting the negative ones.

"Card sharp" and "card shark" are synonymous ...

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