Having heard this word so often in movies, especially Westerns, one would think its origin is American. It comes as a bit of a surprise for most people that its origin goes back to Elizabethan England in the early 1600s. A hundred years earlier, in the 16th century, to wink meant to shut one’s eyes tightly. It did not mean the quick open-and-shut wink that we know today. Hoods or cowls were also common fashion items in those days and when a hood or cowl was slipped over one’s eyes, you were temporarily ‘hoodwinked’ or blinded. In fact, the game we know as ‘blind man’s bluff or buff’ was called the ‘hoodwinke game’ in Elizabethan times. During the early 17th century, however, to ‘hoodwink’ was being used figuratively to mean to deceive or trick, long before the cowboys and rustlers of the American West began hoodwinking one another.