hood·​wink ˈhu̇d-ˌwiŋk How to pronounce hoodwink (audio)
hoodwinked; hoodwinking; hoodwinks

transitive verb

: to deceive by false appearance : dupe
people who allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such promises
archaic : blindfold
obsolete : hide
hoodwinker noun

Did you know?

We usually use the word wink to refer to a brief shutting of one eye, but hoodwink draws on an older and more obscure meaning of wink covered in our Unabridged Dictionary: “to close one’s eyes.” To hoodwink someone originally was to effectively do that kind of winking for the person; it meant to “cover someone’s eyes,” as with a hood or a blindfold. This 16th-century term soon came to be used figuratively for veiling the truth. “The public ... is as easily hood-winked,” wrote the Irish physician Charles Lucas in 1756, by which time the figurative use had been around for decades—and today, that meaning of the word is far from winking out.

Examples of hoodwink in a Sentence

Don't let yourself be hoodwinked into buying things you don't need. Tom Sawyer famously hoodwinked the other boys into thinking there was nothing more enjoyable than whitewashing a fence.
Recent Examples on the Web Their story was that the CHP insisted on the nighttime move for the public’s safety, but on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and in Times letters to the editor, the muttering was about hoodwinking and betrayal. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2023 In the doc’s re-telling, the Browns come off as hoodwinked by a PR strategy hatched by Erik Burkhardt, Manziel’s former agent. Jimmy Watkins, cleveland, 10 Aug. 2023 At least one Alabama Democratic lawmaker thinks the GOP is being hoodwinked. John Sharp | Jsharp@al.com, al, 8 Aug. 2023 The images of Ukrainians as a bunch of Nazis hoodwinked by the West were readily presented on Russian television. Gary Shteyngart, The Atlantic, 20 July 2023 The second Wharton friend also didn’t understand why Javice would seek to hoodwink JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s biggest banks with endless assets to take Javice down. Byluisa Beltran, Fortune, 12 June 2023 All in desperate attempts to hoodwink referees into calling fouls. Kurt Streeter, New York Times, 1 June 2023 The most common example of the crime involves fibbing about a company's financial information for the sake of evading or minimizing tax payments, or in an effort to hoodwink potential investors, Galluzo said. Max Zahn, ABC News, 7 Apr. 2023 Have we, the audience, been hoodwinked by Pedro Pascal's dadly charms into rooting for a monster? Kyle Orland & Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 13 Mar. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hoodwink.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


hood entry 1 + wink

First Known Use

1562, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of hoodwink was in 1562


Dictionary Entries Near hoodwink

Cite this Entry

“Hoodwink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoodwink. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


hood·​wink ˈhu̇d-ˌwiŋk How to pronounce hoodwink (audio)
: to deceive by false appearance : trick

More from Merriam-Webster on hoodwink

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