August 9. The word is hornswoggle.

Another word to bring on the smiles, unless, of course, one has been hornswoggled.  Which is to say, you’ve been cheated, fooled, had the wool pulled over your eyes, or suchlike.  

The verb “to hornswoggle” sounds so much friendlier than swindle or defraud. And I think it sounds classier than plain old cheating.  It definitely looks more handsome. Cheat is an ugly word, as ugly as the deed itself.  There’s a multi-syllabic implication of cleverness involved with hornswoggle, but with a dash of down-to-earthiness, like it’s an ordinary thing that could happen to anyone. No one is always the clever winner.

I don’t know that I would rather be hornswoggled than cheated, but maybe I wouldn’t feel quite as stupid after it happened? Hard to say.

It’s another old word I would love to see revived, though. I giggle whenever I imagine all the television talking heads and web pundits saying it instead of cheat (or even better, in place of all those times they use fake as a verb.)

I am, perhaps, too easily amused. But I’m honest about it.


Word provided by Cynthia Snell

Advertisements