Wednesday Nautical Terms and Phrases: Bamboozle

to deceive

I knew of the scene in Malcolm X, where Denzel Washington states “Every election year, these politicians are sent up here to pacify us,” he says. “You’ve been hoodwinked. Bamboozled.”  Apparently and totally missed by myself when it actually occurred, Obama during his campaign (at the very of this clip) used similar terminology which gave the fodder to the right to make the rather bold claim Obama was a racist.  Hmmmm.


from the 17th century, it described the Spanish custom of hoisting false flags to deceive (bamboozle) enemies.

Also see Word Detective (scroll down) for the potential origns of the word.

Dr. M (1714 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

One comment on “Wednesday Nautical Terms and Phrases: Bamboozle
  1. Gotta say it Dr. M, the whole family loves this series. My wife is a word nerd and idiomatic phrases such as these have always interested her. Of course now Johann is using maritime phrases on the playground and around campus at soem really odd times. But he’ll grow out of that… or not.

Comments are closed.