This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Thing Probably Not To Do Today: bamboozle someone.

A fine upright person like you wouldn't want to cheat, mislead or confuse someone, but how about bamboozling them?

It sounds much more justifiable and lovable, doesn't it, even though it means the same thing.

I don't know if this is because the word bamboozle itself sounds so silly, or because bamboozle seems to be a mixture of cartoon violence - bam! - and what sounds like a harmlessly small drink (fancy a boozle, vicar?) or because no one makes a career out of bamboozling people. Your master criminal will cheat, con and lie, yes, (and your small-time crook will do the same, only less effectively) but a bamboozler is, basically, sniggering.

The problem is, how do we make sure we're not being more clever than good-natured? How can we be sure to bamboozle with grace? It's all a bit, well, bamboozling.

I think today I'll be bamboozled instead.

That's no effort at all.

Thing Probably Not To Do Today: bamboozle someone. This word appeared in the 1700s, no one is sure from where, but at the time there was a bit of a fashion for making up silly words, for example fustiluggs (clumsy fat person), shabberoon (tramp) and whippersnapper (child).

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