This highly relatable post by C.J. Langer about being bamboozled got me thinking about the etymology of the word.

Bamboozle is a verb: It means to trick, defraud, confuse, perplex or frustrate someone.
One can bamboozle another person, or be bamboozled by them. 
The noun is bamboozler.

For a word that is so much fun to say, it has to have an interesting history… right?

Image by JoeBreuer on Pixabay.

The entry at dates its first use in print to 1703, but its origins are unknown. 
There are, however, some interesting theories offered: 

  • It could be Scottish: from bombaze or bumbaze, which mean to confound or perplex
  • It could be related to bombast – using big words and fancy language to impress people without saying much
  • It could be derived from the French word “embabouiner “ which means to quite literally to make a ‘baboon’of someone. 
  • It could come from Italian words such as bambolo, bamboccio, bambocciolo which refer to a young baby, but have come to be applied to people who are silly or gullible.

The Scottish “bombaze” seems to me to be the closest and most likely, particularly  given that the Scottish Stuarts had been on the English throne for a century: it makes historical sense that this would have given Scottish terms an entry into vernacular English before being written down as they became more commonly spoken.  Ultimately, though, we’ll probably never know. 

c.j. langer

There are some words in the English language that strike me – sometimes funny, sometimes just as damned strange. Bamboozle is one of those words. I looked up the definition – to fool or cheat – just to be sure I understood it and sure enough I knew and it fit exactly how I’ve felt for the past few days.

It’s hard not to be offended when you finally figure out you’ve been duped yet again by the same people who have done it in the past. It’s hard not to be hurt, angry. It’s hard to forgive, again…

I love the whole ‘forgive and forget’ concept. It’s something I try to live by. I really do but what the great quote writers don’t tell you is that chances are you’re going to have to forgive the same people over and over again. For little things, little hurts.

To be…

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