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

Definition of hoodwink

transitive verb

1 : to deceive by false appearance : dupe people who allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such promises
2 archaic : blindfold
3 obsolete : hide

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Other Words from hoodwink

hoodwinker noun

Did You Know?

A now-obsolete sense of the word wink is "to close one's eyes," and "hoodwink" once meant to cover the eyes of someone, such as a prisoner, with a hood or blindfold. ("Hoodwink" was also once a name for the game of blindman's buff.) This 16th-century term soon came to be used figuratively for veiling the truth. "The Public is easily hood-winked," wrote the Irish physician Charles Lucas in 1756, by which time the figurative use had been around for almost a century and a half. Two hundred and fifty years later, this meaning of the word hasn't changed a wink: "The American public has been hoodwinked and fleeced," wrote Theodore Wolff, for example, in the Iowa State Daily on July 6, 2006.

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 The busy father, who spent much of his spare time volunteering at church and in the immigrant community, found out he’d been hoodwinked after seeing Cooner on the news. al, "Undocumented Alabamian savors rare victory in immigration court," 16 Feb. 2020 The agency regularly hoodwinks Congress out of money by maxing out its budget at opportune moments, as when (as is increasingly the case) the government is forced to pass a temporary spending bill due to partisan gridlock. Aaron Cantú, The New Republic, "How Democrats Abetted Trump’s Bloated Border Regime," 7 Jan. 2020 In other messages, employees bragged of their ability to hoodwink regulators. Bloomberg Wire, Dallas News, "New Boeing CEO faces daunting task," 19 Jan. 2020 The hoax wasn’t entirely unmasked until 1965, but until then many people — millions, perhaps — had been hoodwinked. Bruce Weber, New York Times, "Buck Henry, Who Helped Create ‘Get Smart’ and Adapt ‘The Graduate,’ Dies at 89," 9 Jan. 2020 Tales such as McIntosh’s — of being hoodwinked by a criminal only to face an uphill battle to be made whole — are on the rise, consumer and legal experts warn. Nick Leiber, Los Angeles Times, "When a ‘trusted’ financial professional targets the assets of America’s elderly," 22 Oct. 2019 If that was the breakout, then the Dog Pound has been hoodwinked. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "After pedestrian outing versus Steelers, Odell Beckham Jr. seems destined for forgettable first season in Cleveland -- Film Review," 5 Dec. 2019 His legit business was hoodwinked in this violent gunplay. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: 1 gun, 3 shooting victims: the story of a ‘straw purchase’," 26 Sep. 2019 Just as the Terrapins were on the verge of forcing a third consecutive three-and-out deep in Michigan’s territory, they were hoodwinked by a fake punt that allowed the Wolverines to pick up a first down. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's blowout win more about just how bad Maryland is right now," 2 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hoodwink.' 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 hoodwink

1562, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for hoodwink

hood entry 1 + wink

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Time Traveler for hoodwink

Time Traveler

The first known use of hoodwink was in 1562

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Last Updated

15 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hoodwink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoodwink. Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for hoodwink


How to pronounce hoodwink (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hoodwink

informal : to deceive or trick (someone)


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

Kids Definition of hoodwink

: to mislead by trickery “I will personally be ensuring that no underage student hoodwinks our impartial judge …”— J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire

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More from Merriam-Webster on hoodwink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hoodwink

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hoodwink

Spanish Central: Translation of hoodwink

Nglish: Translation of hoodwink for Spanish Speakers

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