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

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Other Words from bamboozle

bamboozlement \ bam-​ˈbü-​zəl-​mənt How to pronounce bamboozlement (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

But count on the Ducks finding new and bamboozling ways to lose to the top teams in the North. Jon Wilner, The Denver Post, "Pac-12 power ratings: The overreaction edition is back (Week 1 is all about jumping to conclusions)," 2 Sep. 2019 The site had 70 million registered members at its peak, before it was sued by the Federal Trade Commission to pay out $2 million in redress to customers bamboozled by false advertising. Kaitlyn Tiffany, Vox, "The all-too-understandable urge to buy a better brain," 8 July 2019 Then the exiled Posthumus is bamboozled into believing Imogen has been unfaithful to him — just part of the welter of schemes, counterschemes, deceptions, disguises, and palace intrigue in the play., "The Ticket: What’s happening in the local arts world," 18 July 2019 The Deep State does not want the American people to grasp the extent to which they have been bamboozled by their own government. Susan Svrluga, Washington Post, "First, they lost their children. Then, the conspiracies started. Now, the parents of Newtown are fighting back.," 8 July 2019 In hopes of gaining control of Stark’s high-end technology, Beck has concocted this superhero fantasy to bamboozle the public—and Spider-Man—into thinking Mysterio is a deserving successor to Iron Man. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," 5 July 2019 Their unique styles of wing wizardry were once enough to bamboozle the most resolute of defences., "Why the Longevity of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery Is a Paradox in the Future Progression of Bayern," 19 May 2018 Cuadrado was at fault, being too easily bamboozled by Perisic, who drove in a low cross which the unfortunate Andrea Barzagli could only turn into his own net., "Juventus Comes Back From 2-1 Deficit to Beat 10-Man Inter," 28 Apr. 2018 Reflections, the sun dropping low on the horizon, alternating light and dark patches on the road, not to mention heavy rain or snow, all can bamboozle the machines. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of bamboozle

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bamboozle

origin unknown

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Statistics for bamboozle

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for bamboozle

The first known use of bamboozle was in 1703

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More Definitions for bamboozle



English Language Learners Definition of bamboozle

informal : to trick or confuse (someone)

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More from Merriam-Webster on bamboozle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bamboozle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bamboozle

Spanish Central: Translation of 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).


concealment of treason or felony

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