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

Yet a large number of Africans outside Zimbabwe have been hoodwinked into believing Mr Mugabe’s lie that sanctions were responsible for hamstringing the entire economy and harming millions of blameless Zimbabweans. The Economist, "Robert Mugabe leaves a bitter legacy," 7 Sep. 2019 Portland Public Schools was bilked for $2.9 million when a fraudster posing as one of the district’s construction contractors hoodwinked employees into green-lighting the payment, district officials say. oregonlive.com, "Portland Public Schools nearly scammed out of $2.9 million," 19 Aug. 2019 There is a long list of agents who have hoodwinked their own clients—who have stolen, directly or indirectly, or cashed in on side deals, or ignored their own conflicts of interests. Michael Rosenberg, SI.com, "New 'Rich Paul Rule' Targeted at Agents Is NCAA's Latest Blunder," 7 Aug. 2019 This part of the busy, teeming picture won’t be for everyone, certainly not for every preteen hoodwinked by the film’s G rating. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "‘Toy Story 4’ review: Triumph of the spork!," 18 June 2019 Devotees of the Spider-Man comic books will be a step or two ahead of the rest of us in answering those questions, and more’s the pity, since being hoodwinked is part of the fun. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ often soars, though not as much as it twists," 3 July 2019 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

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

14 Sep 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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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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