"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Friday, 4 September 2009


To bamboozle someone is to mystify them, hoax them or deceive them by trickery. It's a lovely sounding word and is still in common usage though I cannot recall having seen it in any of the 'Top Words' or 'Favourtite Words' lists.

GB asked me if I could find out its origin. It seems that it was simply invented at the end of the 17th century. Jonathan Swift, Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet, cleric and author of Gullliver's Travels, wrote in The Tatler no. 230 in 1703 - "Certain Words invented by some pretty Fellows such as Banter, Bamboozle... some of which are now struggling for the vogue."

1 comment:

  1. Ah. Thanks. I suppose that's as good a way as any for a word to come into existence.