ring - ringleader - RINGER?

majik23

New Member
Polish
I wonder whether it is possible to refer to a member of a criminal ring as to a RINGER.
I have found this entry


Main Entry: accessory  [ak-ses-uh-ree] Show IPA
Part of Speech:noun
Definition:person peripherally involved in illegal activity
Synonyms:abettor, accomplice, aid, aide, assistant, associate, co-conspirator, colleague, confederate, conspirator, helper, insider, partner, plant, ringer, shill, stall, subordinate
however I'd like to get more opinions from English users

thanks

majik23
 
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  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Which dictionary was it and was it American, British, or what? I've never heard of ringer in this sense. I suppose if it's in the dictionary then at least some people think it's all right. There's the slang Roy's a dead ringer for Gerald - Roy looks exactly like Gerald.
     

    majik23

    New Member
    Polish
    It's a bit tricky - I am not allowed to post links, but it was thesaurus dot com, entry: insider
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The dictionary here provides the normal meanings of ringer. In BE it never means an accessory, but it does refer to a specific criminal activity - the modification of stolen cars to hide their origin - where ringer can be the car itself or the criminal who altered it. Keep in mind that a thesaurus entry does not mean that the words are synonyms, only that their meanings overlap.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A ringer is also an accomplice, particularly in a confidence trick. The ringer is one of the gang or the partner of the confidence trickster. The ringer will take the part of either (i) an innocent member of the public or (ii) will befriend the dupe. In both cases, it is his job to make the dupe believe that the plan/scheme/game is honest and, usually, that money can be made easily.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Could you provide a reference for that PaulQ? I have never come across it used that way, and that also seems to be true for the editors of the OED.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You and the OED have led sheltered lives :):

    http://everything2.com/title/Three+Card+Monte
    Three-card monty is a gambling game in which three cards (cupped for easier movement) are placed face-down on the table. The marks (another term for "sucker") are shown where the queen is. The cards are then moved around in a quick fashion. The marks are then invited to place a bet on which card the queen is. Only one bet is allowed, and it is here that the scam comes into play.

    If a legitimate mark places a bet on the wrong card, he is shown the card he bet on, and his money is taken. If a mark is about to lay down his money on the correct card, a ringer in the crowd quickly jumps in and bets on one of the other cards (the ringer and the person running the game of course have worked this out ahead of time). Thus, no legitimate mark can ever win any money except at the ringer's discretion.
    I have known this term since the 1960s at least, but I suspect it is far older

    Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English at page 296 -
    "cf ringer 6. in the sense of any genuine-appearing fake
    . This gives the link between your far more recent ringer (car) "genuine appearing but fake car" and the origins

    As you probably know, every Three-card Monte setup has a Ringer. The Ringer's job is to pretend they're an objective, outside observer commenting on the game, when they're actually a part of the hustle who's there to help bamboozle the public into thinking this game is legitimate.
    http://ecologicalheadstand.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/harvard-thimblerig-step-by-step.html

    I used the search term Three Card Monte as this is the commonest scam to employ a ringer. In practice, any scam worked in this manner needs a ringer. Selling worhtless items at auction requires three or four ringers in the crowd, passing of fake IT equipment is facilitated by having an apparently innocent would-be buyer alongside a real buyer, etc.
    ringer (n.)
    especially be a dead ringer for "resemble closely," 1891, from ringer, a fast horse entered fraudulently in a race in place of a slow one (the verb to ring in this sense is attested from 1812), possibly from British ring in "substitute, exchange," via ring the changes, "substitute counterfeit money for good," a pun on ring the changes in the sense of play the regular series of variations in a peal of bells (1610s)
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=ringer&searchmode=none

    You can see how this might be applied to a person masquerading as an innocent member of the public, etc.

    PS There is another meaning of ringer = an accomplice who "rings the changes" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_goods_scam
    After meeting with an accomplice (the "steerer") the victim would be shown large sums of genuine currency - represented to be counterfeit - that was then placed in a bag or satchel, which the victim would be offered the opportunity to purchase at just pennies on the dollar. While the victim negotiated a price or was otherwise distracted, another accomplice (the "ringer") would switch the money for a bag containing sawdust,
     
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    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    In AmE, ringer is commonly used with regard to sports and other situations in which a participant is slyly introduced to the action who is illicitly overqualified. For example: Doodsville High School's baseball team usually has a few ringers on it -- meaning players who are older and more experienced or otherwise ineligible under the rules.
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    I agree with MuttQuad's definition of ringer. To me, the accomplice in a game of 3-card monte is the shill.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    In BE a shill is an uncommon noun and is usually used as an adjective in relation to an auction bidding.

    "The price is rising too quickly, there are shill bidders in the crowd."

    Otherwise, a "ringer" conforms to Mudquatt's description.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In AmE, ringer is commonly used with regard to sports and other situations in which a participant is slyly introduced to the action who is illicitly overqualified. For example: Doodsville High School's baseball team usually has a few ringers on it -- meaning players who are older and more experienced or otherwise ineligible under the rules.
    I am very familiar with ringer used in this sense, and this is the only sense of the word ringer that I am familiar with that has any relation to "illegal activity".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You and the OED have led sheltered lives
    On the contrary. I am well aware of the three card trick, which I also know as Find the Lady. I've never heard of Three Card Monte, and as far as I can make out, that is not a BE name for the game. In my perfectly ordinary unsheltered BE, I know that one form of the three card trick relies on shills. I've still never heard ringer used as the term for describing the card sharp's accomplice - other than in the links that you found.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Interesting. My father (English b. 20s), whose father (English b.1880s) was a gambler, spoke of "Three Card Monte".

    For me "Shill" (noun) is a word I had to look up, whereas "ringer" in all its meanings of "something/someone who appears genuine but isn't" was gathered from context in conversation.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In BE auction slang a ring is a group of dealers who agree not to bid against each other, in order to keep auction prices low. Before the auction they decide which lots they want and agree which of them shall bid on it. After the end of the auction they hold a secondary auction to buy the lot from the 'ring'. Profits from the secondary auction are shared out among the members of the 'ring'.

    In this way they defraud the orgininal sellers of some of the true auction value of their lots.

    Such rings tend to be regional in the UK. The activity is illegal, of course.
     

    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    On the contrary. I am well aware of the three card trick, which I also know as Find the Lady. I've never heard of Three Card Monte, and as far as I can make out, that is not a BE name for the game. In my perfectly ordinary unsheltered BE, I know that one form of the three card trick relies on shills. I've still never heard ringer used as the term for describing the card sharp's accomplice - other than in the links that you found.
    On the streets of New York, it's Three Card Monte, and people would be puzzled if you called it "Find the Lady." Difference between the two versions of our mutual language. However, when the mark is challenged to find the "pea" under one of three walnut shells (or paper cups or other similar coverings), the game -- at least here -- is known as "the shell game." It's played and cheated just like Three Card Monte or Find the Lady.
     
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