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 Polls after the election found voters recognized the taxing and spending numbers didn’t add up, and disliked Mr. Corbyn for trying to hoodwink them. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "If You Lose an Election, You Probably Deserve It," 24 Sep. 2020 Throughout his trial, Scrushy denied knowledge of any financial impropriety, saying he’d been hoodwinked by high-level employees at HealthSouth. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Richard Scrushy gets his day in court (again!) on Netflix’s ‘Trial by Media’," 14 May 2020 This order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in its nature, to hoodwink the people of J&K who genuinely believed that post-Oct. Riyaz Wani, Quartz India, "India’s new domicile law for Jammu & Kashmir is making residents anxious," 6 Apr. 2020 Vegan cooking is an exercise in sleight of hand, in hoodwinking your senses in ways that bewilder carnivores like myself. Liza Weisstuch, Washington Post, "Where to find the best vegan dining in Manhattan," 14 Feb. 2020 Of course, we were hoodwinked by the deserter, McDaniels. SI.com, "Capt. Andrew Luck Bids Farewell to His Unit," 28 Aug. 2019 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Hoodwink.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hoodwink. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on hoodwink

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hoodwink

Nglish: Translation of hoodwink for Spanish Speakers

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