bam·​boo·​zle | \ bam-ˈbü-zəl How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) \
bamboozled; bamboozling\ bam-​ˈbüz-​liŋ How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) , -​ˈbü-​zə-​ \

Definition of bamboozle

transitive verb

1 : to deceive by underhanded methods : dupe, hoodwink I got bamboozled by the salesperson to buy a more expensive model.
2 : to confuse, frustrate, or throw off thoroughly or completely a quarterback bamboozled by an unexpected defense

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bamboozle

bamboozlement \ bam-​ˈbü-​zəl-​mənt How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

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."

Examples of bamboozle in a Sentence

bamboozled by con men into buying worthless land in the desert she's completely bamboozled by the latest changes in the tax code
Recent Examples on the Web Wohl and Burkman have a history of trying to bamboozle opponents with wild and unsubstantiated claims. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, "Washington Post duped by scam artists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman," 14 Sep. 2020 Information warfare is designed to bamboozle, but its digital variant can be especially baffling to the nonspecialist. Jonathan Freedland, The New York Review of Books, "Disinformed to Death," 3 Aug. 2020 Their opaque methodologies bamboozle clients and bosses. The Economist, "Green investing has shortcomings," 18 June 2020 But Trump has only one act—juggling lies after lies to bamboozle the credulous—and, at the worst moment of his presidency, his usual tricks and distractions are suddenly not working. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Trump Can’t Lie His Way Out of This One," 16 Apr. 2020 Mohd Faiz Subri quickly rose to internet fame with this curling free-kick from range, completely bamboozling the goalkeeper and soaring into the top corner., "The Definitive Ranking of All 11 FIFA Puskas Award Winning Goals," 25 Sep. 2019 Ben-Gurion University researcher Ben Nassi recently fooled a Tesla Model X with hardware version 2.5 via a projector six months after bamboozling a Mobileye 630 Pro driver-assist system. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Autopilot and Mobileye Driver-Assist Systems Fooled by a Projector," 30 Jan. 2020 Between them, the pair scored 53 times, and their near telepathic understanding was best summed up by an iconic goal in a famous 3-3 draw at Camp Nou that saw a seamless dummy and one-two with Yorke utterly bamboozle the Barcelona defence., "9 of Former Newcastle & Man Utd Star Andrew Cole's Greatest Moments on His 48th Birthday," 15 Oct. 2019 Maggio, a hero at one end, put in an excellent sliding challenge to break up the counter-attack, but his tackle only served to bamboozle his teammates., "Napoli 2-4 Lazio: The 90 Minute Champions League Shootout That Had it All," 6 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of bamboozle

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bamboozle

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bamboozle

Time Traveler for bamboozle

Time Traveler

The first known use of bamboozle was in 1703

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about bamboozle

Statistics for bamboozle

Cite this Entry

“Bamboozle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bamboozle



English Language Learners Definition of bamboozle

informal : to trick or confuse (someone)

More from Merriam-Webster on bamboozle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bamboozle

Nglish: Translation of bamboozle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bamboozle

What made you want to look up bamboozle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!