Definition of bamboozle
- a quarterback bamboozled by an unexpected defense
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bamboozled by con men into buying worthless land in the desert
she's completely bamboozled by the latest changes in the tax code
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bamboozle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
In 1710, Irish author Jonathan Swift wrote an article on "the continual Corruption of our English Tongue" in which he complained of "the Choice of certain Words invented by some pretty Fellows." Among the inventions Swift disliked were bamboozle, bubble (a dupe), put (a fool), and sham. (Perhaps he objected to the use of sham as a verb; he himself had used the adjective meaning "false" a couple of years previously.) What all these words appear to have in common is a connection to the underworld as jargon of criminals. Other than that, the origin of bamboozle remains a mystery, but the over-300-year-old word has clearly defied Swift's assertion that "All new affected Modes of Speech . . . are the first perishing Parts in any Language."
First Known Use: 1703See Words from the same year
beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, deceive, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gull, have, hoax, hoodwink, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform, mislead, snow, spoof, string along, take in, trick;
do a number on, lead one down the garden path (also lead one up the garden path), pull one's leg, pull the wool over one's eyes;
: to trick or confuse (someone)
What made you want to look up bamboozle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
without deliberation, pause, or delay
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