This word meaning to deceive or mislead by elaborate means is of unknown origin. There are several theories about its origin but none of them are proven. What is known is that it first appears in print in the early 18th century and continues to bamboozle etymologists. Jonathan Swift in his work The Continual Corruption of Our English Tongue (1710) compiled a list of words that in his opinion were corroding and destroying the language. The word bamboozle was amongst them. Most of the words in Swift’s list came from the colloquial speech of the lower classes so it is a reasonable assumption that bamboozle came from the same quarter. One theory is that it derives from the old Scots word bombaze meaning to confuse or mystify. Other efforts link it to the word baboon in the sense of making a monkey out of someone. The truth is the origin remains obscure and no one knows for sure.