Definition of hoodwink in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈho͝odˌwiNGk/


[with object]
Deceive or trick (someone): an attempt to hoodwink the public
More example sentences
  • Critics of fish farming are furious at what they consider to be an attempt to hoodwink the public.
  • They accuse stem cell research traditionalists of hoodwinking the public by promising cures they cannot deliver.
  • But I have to say that in this instance she emerges with a lot of credit as someone who is prepared to put her money where her mouth is - and is prepared to admit in public that she was hoodwinked.
deceive, trick, dupe, outwit, fool, delude, inveigle, cheat, take in, hoax, mislead, lead on, defraud, double-cross, swindle, gull, scam
informal con, bamboozle, hornswoggle, fleece, do, have, sting, gyp, shaft, rip off, lead up the garden path, pull a fast one on, put one over on, take for a ride, pull the wool over someone's eyes, sucker, snooker
literary cozen


Mid 16th century (originally in the sense 'to blindfold'): from the noun hood1 + an obsolete sense of wink 'close the eyes'.

  • wink from Old English:

    Today someone who winks closes and opens an eye quickly. In Anglo-Saxon times to wink was simply to close the eyes. Hoodwink, meaning ‘to trick or deceive’, harks back to this original meaning. To hoodwink someone in the 16th century was to blindfold with a hood, before an execution or while attacking them. The modern metaphorical sense developed early the next century. To tip someone the wink is an example of old underworld slang or ‘rogues' cant’ recorded from the 17th century. It is probably the source of tip in the sense of ‘a useful piece of advice’. Tip here means simply ‘to give, allow to have’—its use in sentences like ‘tip me a shilling’ led to the modern sense of tip, ‘a sum of money given as a reward for good service’, found from the mid 18th century. See also nod

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hood·wink

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