Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Hoodwink

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is hoodwink. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Hoodwink means “to deceive or trick someone.”

// The salesperson hoodwinked us into buying items that weren’t on our shopping list.

HOODWINK in Context

“A financial advisor’s credentials can be helpful, but beware—sometimes, less scrupulous financial advisors will use irrelevant or fraudulent qualifications to hoodwink clients.” — Ashley Kilroy, Yahoo Finance, 14 Aug. 2022

Did You Know?

We usually use the word wink to refer to a brief shutting of one eye, but hoodwink draws on an older and more obscure meaning of wink covered in our Unabridged Dictionary: “to close one’s eyes.” To hoodwink someone originally was to effectively do that kind of winking for the person; it meant to “cover someone’s eyes,” as with a hood or a blindfold. This 16th-century term soon came to be used figuratively for veiling the truth. “The public … is as easily hood-winked,” wrote the Irish physician Charles Lucas in 1756, by which time the figurative use had been around for decades—and today, that meaning of the word is far from winking out.

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