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.

One Reply to “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.

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