horn·​swog·​gle | \ ˈhȯrn-ˌswä-gəl How to pronounce hornswoggle (audio) \
hornswoggled; hornswoggling\ ˈhȯrn-​ˌswä-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce hornswoggle (audio) \; hornswoggles

Definition of hornswoggle

transitive verb

: to trick or deceive (someone) : bamboozle, hoax … trying to avoid getting hornswoggled by advertising claims …— Jennifer Rude Klett often used with into or out ofBy the end of the call, Santillo had allegedly hornswoggled Olson into parting with her life savings …— Gary CraigIf you want to know what hell can really do in the way of furies, look for the chap who has been hornswoggled into taking a long and unnecessary bicycle ride in the dark without a lamp.— P. G. WodehouseHe also saw his mother get hornswoggled out of $500—seven weeks' salary, the family's entire savings—by a slick traveling vacuum salesman.— Kim Lachance Shandrow

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of hornswoggle in a Sentence

I think we've been hornswoggled by that carnival barker.

First Known Use of hornswoggle

1877, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hornswoggle

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hornswoggle

Time Traveler for hornswoggle

Time Traveler

The first known use of hornswoggle was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about hornswoggle

Statistics for hornswoggle

Cite this Entry

“Hornswoggle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hornswoggle. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on hornswoggle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hornswoggle

Comments on hornswoggle

What made you want to look up hornswoggle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!