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

transitive verb

: to deceive by underhanded methods : dupe, hoodwink
I got bamboozled by the salesperson to buy a more expensive model.
: to confuse, frustrate, or throw off thoroughly or completely
a quarterback bamboozled by an unexpected defense
bamboozlement 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 was bamboozle, which was used by contemporary criminals. Other than that, the origin of bamboozle remains a mystery, but the 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 I'm completely bamboozled by the latest changes in the tax code
Recent Examples on the Web The team’s diverse spin attack – the three-pronged approach of Khan, Nabi and Noor Ahmad – has left opposing batters bamboozled, while its opening pairing of Gurbaz and Zadran have given it promising starts to games. Ben Morse, CNN, 26 June 2024 His combination of accuracy and variation bamboozled the Pakistani batters, limiting them to just 13 runs to secure a famous win in the USA’s debut appearance at the T20 World Cup. Ben Morse, CNN, 16 June 2024 But the 12 adult jurors in New York who were not bamboozled have set an example going forward for the rest of the country on how to stand up for truth and the American justice system. David McGrath, Orlando Sentinel, 15 June 2024 That invasion of for-hire vehicles led to nine suicides and hundreds of bankruptcies of medallion owners who had been bamboozled and then back-stabbed by the city’s Uber and Lyft Benevolent Association (officially called the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 30 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for bamboozle 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bamboozle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of bamboozle was in 1703


Dictionary Entries Near bamboozle

Cite this Entry

“Bamboozle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


bamboozled; bamboozling
: to deceive by trickery : hoodwink
: to confuse, frustrate, or throw off completely

More from Merriam-Webster on bamboozle

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