I am not a native speaker and I would like to write a sentence using the verb "to cheat on". The situation I want to describe is that someone (Mr X) has lied to someone else (Mr Y) convincing Mr Y to lend Mr X some money that was never given back.

My first attempt was: "Mr X cheated on Mr Y ... money". My questions are: can I use the verb "to cheat" in this context? What word / expression should I use before money? The only expressions that come to my mind are "regarding" and "with respect to" but this does not sound correct to me.

In general, can one say "X cheated on Y ... something?", where something can be money, feelings, etc?

  • Thanks a lot for the answers: I thought "cheating on someone" had the generic meaning of "not being honest with someone", whereas this has a more special meaning.
    – Giorgio
    Nov 29, 2011 at 22:06

4 Answers 4


You can certainly use the verb to cheat in this context, but you want to avoid the phrasal verb to cheat on [a person], which specifically implies (generally sexual) infidelity within a romantic relationship.

The structure you're probably looking for is X cheated Y out of [his money].

I'm not sure what it would mean to cheat someone of their feelings. If you're confused about how to continue the sentence after the verb, you could always say something like: X cheated Y, causing him to lose a good deal of money.


In this context a more common construction would be that, "Mr X cheated Mr Y out of some money"

"Cheat on," is more often used in phrases such as, "Mr X cheated on his wife with Mrs Y"


The other answers are correct. I wish to expand upon them. You cheat on a test, your taxes, your wife, and your diet. You cheat at cards, baseball, and chess. You cheat someone out of money. Basically, usually, you cheat on an object or thing, you cheat at an action or activity, and you cheat a person. Only time you cheat on a person is when it's a relationship fidelity issue.

There are also a lot of interesting synonyms for cheat that usually deal specifically with cheating someone out of money with varying degrees of underhandedness implied. Swindled, hoodwinked, bilked, fleeced, finagled, stiffed, scammed, conned, hornswoggled, bamboozled, etc.

For instance, something like "stiffed" would be used in the case of someone pulling up to a gas station and filling their tank and driving off without paying, or someone borrowing $20 and never paying it back, or if you agree to go halves on dinner and the other guy "forgot" his wallet.


The etymology of hornswoggle is from the world of the cowboy: a steer that 'cheated' the noose of the cowboy's lasso by 'swoggling' ('shaking free') its horns was said to be 'hornswoggling.'

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