Word of the Day – Bamboozle

Word of the Day : January 26, 2022


verb bam-BOO-zul

What It Means

Bamboozle means “to deceive, trick, or confuse.”

// The legal advisor bluntly said to his client, “Don’t be bamboozled into saying ‘yes’ to something you don’t agree with.”

// Inexperienced investors are often bamboozled by the volatility of the stock market.

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BAMBOOZLE in Context

“Picasso … showed a talent for bamboozling the authorities, and was able by quick thinking and quicker talking to foil attempts by the Germans to seize a bank vault in which he and Matisse had stored stacks of their work that were worth millions.” — John Banville, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2021

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.”