catching offguard


Coney-catching is Elizabethan British slang for theft through trickery. It comes from the word "coney" (sometimes spelled conny), meaning a rabbit raised for the table and thus tame.

A coney-catcher was a thief or con man.

The term was used in 1592 pamphlets by Robert Greene, the titles of which included "The Defence of Conny-catching," in which he argued there were worse crimes to be found among "reputable" people, and "A Disputation betweene a Hee Conny-catcher and a Shee Conny-catcher."


1. Bryson, Bill. Shakespeare: The World as a Stage. HarperPress, 2007
2. "Coney Catching,"
3. "Robert Greene's Social Pamphlets,"

Search another word or see catching offguardon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature