B words

bamboozle

The word “bamboozle,” meaning to deceive, or get the better of by trickery (hoodwink), appeared first around 1695. It could also mean to perplex, mystify, or confound.

The word was included in Jonathan Swift’s The Continual Corruption of our English Tongue (1710), where he listed words that were, in his opinion, corroding, if not destroying, the English language.

One theory connects “bamboozle” to the Scots word “bombaze,” meaning “to confuse or mystify.” Efforts have also been made to connect it to the French word embabouiner meaning “to make a fool of” (literally, “to make a baboon of”).

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bodacious

To be “bodacious” is to be impressive, awesome, brave in action, remarkable, prodigious.

Though the word seems modern, the earliest record is from 1832. In early years, it was often spelled as “bowdacious.” Lexicographers to think that it is from an English West Country dialect, written as boldacious or bowldacious, which was probably an amalgam of bold and audacious. One of the earliest US examples is from Georgia, dated 1845: “She’s so bowdacious unreasonable when she’s riled.”

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bogus

“Bogus” goes back a couple hundred years and refered to counterfeit money and anything else that was fake. It also means wrong, uncool, unfair, unreal, off, messed up.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says: “Bogus has been a part of English since the early 1800s. Back then, a bogus was a machine used to make counterfeit coins. No one knows for sure how this coin-copying contraption got its name, but before long bogus had also become a popular noun for funny money itself or for a fraudulent imitation of any kind. The more general “phony” began being used about the same time.

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  One thought on “B words

  1. Leanne Taylor
    February 2, 2021 at 4:54 am

    You are a bodacious word sleuth, Lea. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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