cozen

verb coz·en \ ˈkə-zən \

Definition of cozen

cozened; cozening play \ˈkəz-niŋ, ˈkə-zə-\
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

cozener

play \ˈkəz-nər, ˈkə-zə-\ noun

cozen was our Word of the Day on 05/04/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of cozen in a Sentence

  1. cozened several elderly ladies into believing that he was intending marriage

  2. cozened scores of people by persuading them to hand over funds that he would “invest”

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.

Origin and Etymology of cozen

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

Synonym Discussion of 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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cozen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to remove or wipe out

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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