coz·​en | \ ˈkə-zən How to pronounce cozen (audio) \
cozened; cozening\ ˈkəz-​niŋ How to pronounce cozening (audio) , ˈkə-​zə-​ \

Definition of cozen

transitive verb

1 : to deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd trickery
2 : to gain by cozening someone cozened his supper out of the old couple

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Other Words from cozen

cozener \ ˈkəz-​nər How to pronounce cozener (audio) , ˈkə-​zə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cozen

cheat, cozen, defraud, swindle mean to get something by dishonesty or deception. cheat suggests using trickery that escapes observation. cheated me out of a dollar cozen implies artful persuading or flattering to attain a thing or a purpose. always able to cozen her grandfather out of a few dollars defraud stresses depriving one of his or her rights and usually connotes deliberate perversion of the truth. defrauded of her inheritance by an unscrupulous lawyer swindle implies large-scale cheating by misrepresentation or abuse of confidence. swindled of their savings by con artists

Did You Know?

Be not utterly deceived (or to speak in plainer terms, cozened at their hands). Denouncing the evils of the times, 16th-century Puritan pamphleteer Philip Stubbes thus warned against unscrupulous merchants. "Cozen" may not seem a "plainer term" to us, but it might have to the horse-dependent folks of the 16th century. Some linguists have theorized that "cozen" traces to the Italian noun cozzone, which means "horse trader." Horse-trading, as in the actual swapping of horses, usually involved bargaining and compromise-and, in fact, the term "horse-trading" has come to suggest any shrewd negotiation. It seems safe to assume that not all of these negotiations were entirely on the up-and-up. Given its etymological association with horse traders, therefore, it's not too surprising that "cozen" suggests deception and fraud.

Examples of cozen in a Sentence

cozened several elderly ladies into believing that he was intending marriage cozened scores of people by persuading them to hand over funds that he would “invest”
Recent Examples on the Web The point, however, is not to entertain the driver/employee but to cozen the owner. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2018 Mercedes-Maybach S650: Chauffeur Optional," 19 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cozen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cozen

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cozen

perhaps from obsolete Italian cozzonare, from Italian cozzone horse trader, from Latin cocion-, cocio trader

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The first known use of cozen was in 1573

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Cite this Entry

“Cozen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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