n.1.A cheat; a sharper; a deceiver.
References in periodicals archive ?
The legendary King Edgar of Britain travels throughout his land, accompanied by a fellow named Honesty who reveals the knavery of the four sons of the corrupt, then deceased Bailiff of Hexham: a farmer, a courtier, a cony-catcher, and a priest.
When Cony-catcher is revealed to be a knave, it is in a kind of skit directed by Honesty.
Cony-catcher swears as he's been paid to and, in the end, is confronted with the King's wrath.
On this point see Angela Hurworth, "Gulls, Cony-Catchers and Cozeners: Twelfth Night and the Elizabethan Underworld," Shakespeare Survey 52 (1999): 120-32.
In black leather jackets and greased-back hair, the cony-catchers of Coney Island added to the aura of innocent fun; and the "three umpires in the matter" of Falstaff's deer poaching officiated at an opening game of stickball.
Dekker, for instance, did much of his writing in prison and could see the culture of cony-catchers through the eyes of the punished.