bamboozle = beschwindeln, hereinlegen, tricksen, übers Ohr hauen; verwirren



“If a list were made of the most reviled species in the professional world, only investment bankers would stand between management consultants and the top spot. Sceptics portray these corporate consiglieri as snake-oil salesmen, BAMBOOZLING chief executives and politicians with management gibberish glossy charts while gorging on fat fees”

Economist Leader - ‘Consultants under fire’ (Oct 5th 2022)

Did you


- to trick or deceive someone, often by confusing them

- to deceive by underhanded methods

Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster


“Bamboozle” is one of those words that has been occupying etymologists for over 300 years.

One thing we do know is that it was originally considered “low language”, at least among such defenders of the language as British satirist Jonathan Swift, who hoped (and predicted) that it would quickly fade from the English lexicon.

The meaning of bamboozle “to deceive by trickery”, leads some to believe that it arose among the criminals of the underworld.

By 1712, it had also acquired the sense “to perplex; mystify”. This sense might have emerged under the influence of the Scottish word bumbaze (or bombaze), meaning “to confuse”.

Given the befuddling qualities of alcohol, it’s not too surprising to find that, in the 1800’s, bamboozle showed up on college campuses as a slang term for “drunk”.

Far from sliding into obscurity, bamboozle today has left its lowly roots behind and found a secure place in the lexicon of standard English. Its very longevity stands as a reminder that no-one can predict or enforce the fate of a word.


Alan Irwin Abel (1924 – 2018) was an American hoaxer, writer, and mockumentary filmmaker—famous for bamboozling the media and the general public.

In 1959 Abel founded the 'Society for Indecency to Naked Animals' with the slogan: “A nude horse is a rude horse”. The organization jokingly declared it "a matter of moralistic urgency to make dogs and horses and other animals wear pants". To much amusement, the Today show (among other media outlets) took the news seriously and aired the story on national television.


- to deceive or fool someone

backstab, baffle, bait, bait and switch, baulk, BAMBOOZLE, be economical with the truth, befog, befool, beguile, be sold a pup, bewilder, bilk, blag, bleed (dry), burn, catch out, chicane, chisel, con, confound, cuckold, diddle, do a number on, do the dirty on, double-cross, double-deal, dumbfound, dupe, embezzle, enmesh, ensnare, entangle, entrap, fiddle, filch, finagle, finesse, fit up, fleece, flimflam, four-flush, fox, frame, game, give someone a bum steer (the runaround, the shaft), goldbrick, goose, gouge, hoax, hocus-pocus, hoodwink, hornswoggle, hose, inveigle, lead down (up) the garden path, lure, machinate, make a monkey (sucker) of, milk, mousetrap, nobble, outfox, outmanoeuvre, outsmart, outwit, play dirty (fast and loose with), play for a fool (a sucker), play Judas, prey on, pull a fast one (on), pull a swifty on, pull something funny, pull the wool over someone’s eyes, put one over (on), put someone up to something, put up a (false) front, ream, rip-off, rook, run a game on, sandbag, scam, screw (over), sell a bill of goods (to), sell a pup (to), sell down the river, send on a wild-goose chase, set up, shaft, shake down, skin, slip something over on, snooker, snow, steal a march on, stiff, sting, stitch up, string along, sucker (into), sweet-talk, swindle, swizz, swizzle, take for a fool (a ride), take to the cleaners, tell a terminological inexactitude, thimblerig, throw dust in someone’s eyes, two-time, weasel, welsh, wrong-foot

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Many people are feeling increasingly BAMBOOZLED by clickbait headlines that promise great value, but actually under-deliver!”

THANKS to Susanne and Christian for suggesting today’s word!

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