Bamboozle

I was reading the galley proofs of a scene I particularly like in Lady Eve’s Indiscretion (February 2013) where His Grace is waiting at the back of the church before walking Eve up the aisle, and he’s having last-minute-papa-nerves about a wedding he schemed to bring about (of course). He asks Eve why she’s consented to the wedding, hoping to hear that she’s overcome with true love for her swain.

Eve cannot admit such a thing a mere 175 pages into her book, so she dithers a bit, at which point His Grace asks, “You wouldn’t think to bamboozle your old papa, would you?”

Bamboozle. The word dropped a yellow flag, and had me opening up OED to make sure one could use it in 1818. Turns out, by that time, the term was more than 100 years old, having come into the language from parts unknown in the early 1700s. Perhaps its origins were Scottish or Gypsy, but it’s such a fun, interesting word, it quickly took hold. The meaning given for it is:

To deceive by trickery, hoax, cozen, impose upon

Or it can serve to make His Grace sweat a bit for interfering–again–where angels really ought to fear to tread.

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