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hoodwink definition


This page has 7 definitions of hoodwink in English. Hoodwink is a verb and noun. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .



The verb is derived from hood (head covering attached to a larger garment such as a jacket or cloak) +‎ wink (to close one’s eyes).[1]

The noun is derived from the verb.[2]



hoodwink (third-person singular simple present hoodwinks, present participle hoodwinking, simple past and past participle hoodwinked)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To cover the eyes with, or as if with, a hood; to blindfold. [from mid 16th c.]
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, “Of the Force of Imagination”, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book I, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821, page 40:
      Some there are, that through feare anticipate the hang-mans hand; as he did, whoſe friends having obtained his pardon, and putting away the cloth wherewith he was hood-winkt, that he might heare it read, was found ſtarke dead vpon the ſcaffold, wounded onely by the ſtroke of imagination.
    • 1611, Thomas Coryate [i.e., Thomas Coryat], “My Obseruations of the Most Glorious, Peerelesse, and Mayden Citie of Venice: []”, in Coryats Crudities Hastily Gobled Vp in Five Moneths Trauells [], London: [] W[illiam] S[tansby for the author], OCLC 702319809, lines 9–16, page 261:
      It is the cuſtome of theſe maydes when they walke in the ſtreetes, to couer their faces with their vailes verecundiæ cauſâ [because of modesty], the ſtuffe being ſo thin and ſlight, that they may eaſily looke through it. For it is made of a pretty ſlender ſilke, and very finely curled: ſo that becauſe ſhe thus hoodwinketh her ſelfe, you can very ſeldome ſee her face at full when ſhe walketh abroad, though perhaps you earneſtly deſire it, but only a little glimpſe thereof.
  2. (transitive, figuratively)
    1. To deceive using a disguise; to bewile, dupe, mislead.
      • c. 1580, Philippe Sidnei [i.e., Philip Sidney], “[The Second Booke] Chapter 20”, in Fulke Greville, Matthew Gwinne, and John Florio, editors, The Covntesse of Pembrokes Arcadia [The New Arcadia], London: [] [John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, published 1590, OCLC 801077108; republished in Albert Feuillerat, editor, The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia (Cambridge English Classics: The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney; I), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: University Press, 1912, OCLC 318419127, pages 278–279:
        For, (having many times torne the vaile of modestie) it seemed, for a laste delight, that she delighted in infamy: which often she had used to her husbands shame, filling all mens eares (but his) with reproch; while he (hoodwinkt with kindnes) lest of all mẽ [men] knew who strake him.
      • 1852 March – 1853 September, Charles Dickens, “Attorney and Client”, in Bleak House, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1853, OCLC 999756093, page 388:
        [T]o have to do with you, is to have to do with a man of business who is not to be hoodwinked.
      • 1871, “Reply of Job to the First Speech of Bildad”, in John Noble Coleman, transl., The Poem of Job: The Most Ancient Book in the Universe: The First Written Revelation which God Vouchsafed to Man. [], 2nd edition, [] [T[homas] and A[rchibald] Constable at the Edinburgh University Press] for private circulation, OCLC 264992400, chapter IX, verse 24, page 27:
        The earth is given over into the hand of the Wicked One, / Who hoodwinketh the faces of its judges. / If this be not so, where, who is HE?
      • 1911, W[alter] Y[eeling] Evans-Wentz, “The Testimony of Paganism”, in The Fairy-faith in Celtic Countries, London; New York, N.Y.: Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press, OCLC 30416129, section III (The Cult of Gods, Spirits, Fairies, and the Dead), page 435:
        [L]ocal prophecy declares on Merlin's authority that when the tree falls Carmarthen will fall with it. Perhaps through an unconscious desire on the part of some patriotic citizens of averting the calamity by inducing the tree-spirit to transfer its abode, or else by otherwise hoodwinking the tree-spirit into forgetting that Merlin's Oak is dead, a vigorous and now flourishing young oak has been planted so directly beside it that its foliage embraces it.
      • 1917 September 21, “The Greek White Book”, in The Near East: A Weekly Review of Oriental Politics, Literature, Finance, and Commerce, volume XIII, number 333, London: The Near East Editorial and Publishing Offices, OCLC 12545683, page 410, column 1:
        Ex-King Constantine would be regarded as an apt disciple so long as he succeeded in his purpose of hoodwinking the Allies.
      • 1955 November 7, Russell C. Stroup, “Native Sons [letter]”, in Henry R[obinson] Luce, editor, Time, volume LXVI, number 19, New York, N.Y.: Time Inc., ISSN 0928-8430, OCLC 224518090, page 10, column 2:
        Can't the New York myth be exploded before Mr. De Sapio [i.e, Carmine DeSapio] hoodwinks Mr. [William Averell] Harriman and the Democratic Party?
      • 1959 January, Parker Tyler, “Has the Horse’s Mouth a Gold Tooth?”, in Albert Frankfurter, editor, ARTnews, volume 57, number 9, New York, N.Y.: Art Foundation Press, ISSN 0004-3273, OCLC 919935672, page 38, column 2:
        Is it funny in the novel [The Horse’s Mouth (1944) by Joyce Cary] to hear Gulley tell about hoodwinking his former or prospective rich patrons with absurd pranks?
      • 2007, Linda Colley, “Out of the Caribbean”, in The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: How a Remarkable Woman Crossed Seas and Empires to Become a Part of World History, London: Harper Perennial, published 2008, →ISBN, page 39:
        As his correspondence with successive aristocratic First Lords of the Admiralty reveals, he was both unctuously deferential in his dealings with his official and social superiors, and capable sometimes of hoodwinking them.
      • 2013, Gordon [Patrick] Peake, “The Portuguese Monument”, in Beloved Land: Stories, Struggles, and Secrets from Timor-Leste, Brunswick, Vic.; London: Scribe Publications, →ISBN, page 21:
        In the absence of enforcement, many liurai decided to sell the coffee beans and to pocket the profits. To claw back the money, the Portuguese hired the warriors of a nearby liurai as tax collectors. This itself proved hardly a fail-safe strategy as, on many occasions, the liurai who were sent out to get the money hoodwinked the Portuguese and also kept the stash.
    2. (archaic) To hide or obscure.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete, rare) To close the eyes.
    • 1641, John Milton, “Sect. I”, in Animadversions upon the Remonstrants Defence against Smectymnuus; republished in A Complete Collection of the Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous Works of John Milton, [], volume I, Amsterdam [actually London: s.n.], 1698, OCLC 926209975, page 144:
      [W]herefore have you ſate ſtill, and comply'd and hood-winkt, till the generall Complaints of the Land have ſqueez'd you to a wretched, cold and hollow-hearted Confeſſion of ſome prelaticall Riots both in this and other places of your Booke?


Derived terms



hoodwink (countable and uncountable, plural hoodwinks)

  1. (countable) An act of hiding from sight, or something that cloaks or hides another thing from view.
  2. (Britain, games, obsolete, uncountable) The game of blind man's buff.
    Synonym: (obsolete) hoodman-blind



  1. ^ hoodwink, v.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021; “hoodwink, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ hoodwink, n.”, in OED Online , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2021.

Further reading