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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 Jackson and the Ravens completely bamboozled New England’s defense to start the game. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Undefeated no more: Lamar Jackson, Ravens end Patriots' bid for 16-0 season," 4 Nov. 2019 Getting bamboozled by online misinformation can be like trying to charge your smartphone in a microwave: embarrassing, expensive, mildly explosive. Wired, "The Influencer Scientists Debunking Online Misinformation," 13 Nov. 2019 This isn’t the first time fans feel bamboozled by Ye. Tomás Mier,, "Kanye West Fans Were Left Feeling 'Clowned' After the Rapper Postponed His New Album's Release," 27 Sep. 2019 Roma enlists Levene to pose as a high-rolling client and the two set about bamboozling poor Mr. Lamb — anything to keep him from scotching the deal. Andrea Simakis, cleveland, "Women playing men, and men behaving badly, in the fun-house mirrors of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ and ‘Into the Breeches!’," 29 Sep. 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

Last Updated

19 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bamboozle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bamboozle


How to pronounce bamboozle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bamboozle

informal : to trick or confuse (someone)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bamboozle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bamboozle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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