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

In Handler’s version of reality, doctors, rabbis and politicians are all hoodwinked by a massive conspiracy orchestrated by drug companies and the Centers for Disease Control to make money off of vaccines. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, "An Orthodox rally in Brooklyn sees vaccines as a conspiracy," 6 June 2019 Whether or not there are mom-and-pop investors who felt hoodwinked by some of their favorite celebrities, neither Khaled nor Mayweather offered an apology or admitted any wrongdoing for their promotional gambits. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "The federal government is cracking down on DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather for telling fans to invest in cryptocurrencies," 29 Nov. 2018 Liberals leading the charge against Mr. Trump’s potential picks quickly dismissed Ms. Collins’s remarks, suggesting that the senator was either being hoodwinked or knowingly obfuscating her position. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Susan Collins, Pivotal Moderate, Says ‘Hostility’ to Roe Would Sway Her Vote," 1 July 2018 The chair of the court is rarely in the news, though Habgood’s name featured last year when he was impersonated by an online prankster who briefly hoodwinked Carney. David Goodman, Bloomberg.com, "Bank of England Has Big Governing Job to Fill Before Carney Goes," 16 Apr. 2018 Appearing on a number of Sunday morning news shows, national security adviser John Bolton sought to dispel concerns that the White House is being hoodwinked. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, "Trump said North Korea was ‘no longer a nuclear threat.’ His spies disagree.," 2 July 2018 All that thieves need to do is hoodwink Philadelphia’s Records Department and its gullible and often careless deed room. Craig R. Mccoy, Philly.com, "A Philadelphia story: Falsely declared dead, home stolen and no one will help," 29 June 2018 The list of high-profile people Holmes managed to hoodwink is almost as eye-popping as her deceits. Julia Belluz, Vox, "How Silicon Valley got played by Theranos," 15 June 2018 The question is: will a team move up, or could a savvy front office try to hoodwink Kings general manager Vlade Divac. Peter Dawson, star-telegram, "NBA Mock Draft 4.0: Mavs pass on Mo Bamba, opt for Mizzou superstar instead," 6 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near hoodwink


hood ornament






Statistics for hoodwink

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for hoodwink

The first known use of hoodwink was in 1562

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More Definitions for hoodwink



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hoodwink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hoodwink

Spanish Central: Translation of hoodwink

Nglish: Translation of hoodwink for Spanish Speakers

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