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Dishonest efforts will not bring real success. For if it prosper, none dare call it treason. View all related items in Oxford Reference ». Search for: 'cheats never prosper' in Oxford Reference ».
A slightly altered version of this proverb is cheats never prosper.
A phrase with a near identical meaning was first used in the 17th century in The Letters and Epigrams of Sir John Harington :. This exact wording is most commonly used in American English with a slightly different phrasing existing in British English. The English proverb cheaters never prosper means that people who cheat at something may enjoy short-term success, but they will face consequences for their dishonesty in the future.
The following conversation between a teacher and a student who has just been caught cheating illustrates the correct use of this phrase. It is unclear when and where this proverb originated. This proverb is most commonly used in American English; the British English version is slightly altered.
The proverb cheaters never prosper simply means that those who gain an advantage at something by cheating will ultimately have to face the consequences of their actions. Other proverbs in English, including honesty is the best policy and cheaters never win have similar meanings to this proverb.
Though its exact etymology is unknown, it is thought this proverb, in various forms, has been popular since the 17th century. This version is used in British English.
Definition: If someone is successful at something because he cheated, he will ultimately pay for his deception. There is little information on the first published instance of the full proverb as it re today.
Teacher: Since I caught you cheating, you automatically fail the test.