the use of clever, unfair, or dishonest methods to trick people, especially in legal matters
Origin and usage
The noun chicanery comes from a French word, ‘chicanerie’ which itself derived from the verb ‘chicaner’ meaning to quibble. It was first used in English in the 17th century.
Chicanery is trickery or subterfuge used to get your own way when you can’t succeed by straightforward methods. The word is particularly associated with the law, indicating a general distrust of lawyers and the methods they use to win their cases. It is equally strongly associated with politics and business, however: the two most frequent adjective collocates are ‘political’ and ‘financial’, with ‘electoral’ also making a strong showing. The slightly later noun ‘chicane‘ used to mean the same as chicanery but nowadays is restricted to two quite specialized meanings: in the game of bridge, it is the condition of having no trumps, while on a road it indicates a sharp double bend, especially one designed specifically to create an obstacle for racing cars. English is rich in words for deceit and trickery: you can explore them here.
“Be not intimidated…nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.”
deceit, deception, duplicity