Word of the Day: bamboozle

Word of the Day: bamboozle

Source: imagict.com

Bamboozle (verb) bam-BOO-zul


1 : to deceive by underhanded methods : dupe, hoodwink

2 : to confuse, frustrate, or throw off thoroughly or completely


“Some consumers are so bamboozled by slick sales talk that they pay extra for amazingly bad deals. Just one example, a $49.99, four-year service plan on a DVD player that sells for $39.99.” — Mike McClintock, The Chicago Tribune, 13 Feb. 2009

“We agree with those who filed the suits challenging the wording of the ballot question. We believe it is deceitful—and deliberately so, designed to bamboozle voters into thinking they are voting on a minor issue that simply codifies existing law instead of adding five years to a judge’s term.” — The Philadelphia Daily News, 10 Oct. 2016

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 were bamboozle, bubble(a dupe), put (a fool), and sham. (Perhaps he objected to the use of sham as a verb; he himself had used the adjective meaning “false” a couple of years previously.) What all these words appear to have in common is a connection to the underworld as jargon of criminals. Other than that, the origin of bamboozle remains a mystery, but the over-300-year-old word has clearly defied Swift’s assertion that “All new affected Modes of Speech . . . are the first perishing Parts in any Language.”

My Take

Well, there are no shortages of images to go with today’s word. So, I picked a few that I thought were appropriate and I hope you do too.

Bamboozled cat
Source: wordnik.com/words/bamboozle

To me, though I don’t use the bamboozle too much, the meaning is obvious. Is it with you?

To deceive, dupe, hoodwink, confuse, frustrate or throw off completely. I probably could think of another pocketful of synonyms for the term, but I believe you get the message.

The image I found most enjoyable was the wall appliqué of a tree scene with dozens of birds sitting on the branches. Nice, but it was the dog staring at the wall, bamboozled by the birds beyond its reach. I can imagine how many hours the dog spent trying to catch one. I must be honest, when I first saw this image, I thought it was a cat, which works even better.

Government bamboozling
Source: trinbagoviews.com

Another image I found most enjoyable was the cartoon of the honest government worker. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what country you call home, the sentiment fits. Ain’t it a shame?

Today’s bonus picture, available if you tweet from my page on Twitter is an image pertinent to the theme of the day. I hope you like it.

I love learning the different contexts of these words of the day. Do you? Please share your comments. I’m sure we would all like to read them.

Have a great day.

Merriam-WebsterBrought to you by Merriam-Webster, Word of the Day.

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