bam·​boo·​zle | \ bam-ˈbü-zəl How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) \
bamboozled; bamboozling\ bam-​ˈbüz-​liŋ How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) , -​ˈbü-​zə-​ \

Definition of bamboozle

transitive verb

1 : to deceive by underhanded methods : dupe, hoodwink I got bamboozled by the salesperson to buy a more expensive model.
2 : to confuse, frustrate, or throw off thoroughly or completely a quarterback bamboozled by an unexpected defense

Other Words from bamboozle

bamboozlement \ bam-​ˈbü-​zəl-​mənt How to pronounce bamboozle (audio) \ noun

Did you know?

In 1710, Irish author Jonathan Swift wrote an article on "the continual Corruption of our English Tongue" in which he complained of "the Choice of certain Words invented by some pretty Fellows." Among the inventions Swift disliked was bamboozle, which was used by contemporary criminals. Other than that, the origin of bamboozle remains a mystery, but the word has clearly defied Swift's assertion that "All new affected Modes of Speech ... are the first perishing Parts in any Language."

Examples of bamboozle in a Sentence

bamboozled by con men into buying worthless land in the desert I'm completely bamboozled by the latest changes in the tax code
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, celebrities attempt to bamboozle each other in this new game show. Los Angeles Times, 3 Apr. 2022 Meanwhile, celebrities attempt to bamboozle each other in this new game show. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 3 Apr. 2022 Watch as The Colonel attempts to bamboozle audiences and the media by replacing his golden goose with an impersonator. Austin Taylor, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Jan. 2022 And school districts have the right to formally challenge property owners who might be trying to bamboozle the boards of revision. cleveland, 1 Jan. 2022 Variant mutations that would totally bamboozle antibodies can’t always fool T cells, which means a lot more of them will be fairly Omicron-proof, Gralinski told me. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 8 Dec. 2021 Even if my body retained a perfect memory of my vaccines’ contents, these changes might still bamboozle it. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 8 Dec. 2021 The virus, too, will keep changing, and could one day bamboozle even bodies whose immune safeguards remain intact. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 6 Aug. 2021 The point is not to confuse or bamboozle people, but to eventually find a way to think that makes more sense and is a little less murky. Stephon Alexander, Wired, 31 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bamboozle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bamboozle

1703, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bamboozle

origin unknown

Buying Guide

Check out the 11 best games for word lovers from our Reviews team.

Learn More About bamboozle

Time Traveler for bamboozle

Time Traveler

The first known use of bamboozle was in 1703

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About bamboozle

Dictionary Entries Near bamboozle

bamboo worm



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bamboozle

Cite this Entry

“Bamboozle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on bamboozle

Nglish: Translation of bamboozle for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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