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

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 Coal, steel and now natural gas: To suggest that the county’s residents have just been bamboozled by greedy industry sounds to them like the bleating of condescending elites and, for a number of locals, simply untrue. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "A Community Cracked Open by Fracking," 13 June 2018 Posing as a sultan in the Saudi Royal family, a serial Miami con man who bamboozled investors to sink millions of dollars into his bogus business deals has pleaded guilty in federal court. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Miami con man posing as Saudi sultan pleads guilty to swindling millions worldwide," 29 May 2018 And those fans aren’t just getting bamboozled, either: OnePlus phones have always done a great job of outperforming their price point in both quality and functionality. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "OnePlus 6 review: new phone, same compromises," 21 May 2018 They have been bamboozled into believing that all of the problems in the black community are caused by the shiftless Negroes who would rather flounder in self-pity than pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Kanye West, Candace Owens and the Conservative Sunken Place," 23 Apr. 2018 Van Dijk partially atoned for his early error with a series of towering defensive headers, but the Reds looked bamboozled by City's guile and industry., "Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool (Agg 1-5): Reds March Into UCL Last 4 Despite Early Etihad Scare," 10 Apr. 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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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

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