Friday, October 16, 2009

Don't be a bamboozled Gypsy hater.

So, I wonder how long it will take for this new blog excitement to wear off. Right now, I feel like I could write all day, everyday and still be having a good time. In fact, it has become harder to concentrate on, and find the desire to do, the mountain of other things that are my responsibilities. I'm sure it is at least in part a phase, but who knows. It was suggested to me that I should cut back to once or twice a week, due to my schedule, but I'm afraid that I might stop doing it all together if I did that. I seem to need to establish a daily habit for things that I want to do regularly. This is why I write in my journal everyday, and exercise 6 days a week, and brush my teeth everyday (even twice a day most of the time).

Okay, so this personal stuff seems boring, I think that I will get back to my strange British words that people hardly use anymore. So Jingoism and Panjandrum were a bit obscure, but I bet you have heard of today's word: "bamboozle." When was the last time you said this word? You should try it--no really, give it a go. It does something wonderful for your inner child, at least it did to mine. As soon as I said it, I felt transported to a time when I was a lad, and in this transportation (sp?) I was at zoo, run by Dr. Seuss. I was standing next to the legs of people that were probably my parents, but I couldn't be bothered with the rest of them because I was holding a gigantic, multicolored lollipop--you know the kind that have that hypnotic swirly pattern--and I was gazing at the magnificent bamboozle that was climbing the tree in front of me...

Well, after I swore off unidentified mushrooms I decided to look the word up, as I wondered how closely related to "hoodwink" it was. OED says, "To deceive by trickery, hoax, cozen, impose upon." Other definitions included, "to practice trickery" and "to mystify, perplex, confound." So pretty close to hoodwink, which I might look at later. The most diverting part of this, however, is the fact that once again, this is a word that is very difficult to trace. It appears to be another made up word-ish. It appeared in the early 18th century, and was speculated to be of "gypsy" origin. Of course, that could have simply been prejudice because the person speculating was concerned with the "corruption of our English tongue."

This brings me to an interesting tangent. I recently learned that it's not okay to be prejudiced against Gypsies. Yeah, this should have been a no-brainer for me, I know, but I didn't realize that the term "Gypsy" could actually refer a race of people. See, I had been judging Gypsies by the content of their character, or, rather, defining them by their actions. If you lived in the forest under the rule of a Gypsy King and went into the city by day to steal from people--then you were a Gypsy in my book. Though, now that I have thought more deeply about it, I guess the only problem I have is with people who steal stuff. I think it's fine if you live in the forest under the rule of a Gypsy King, if that's what you want to do with your life. Anyway, I dearly hope that I haven't offended anyone in this post, unless you are a person who steals stuff.

P.S. Bamboozle is also the name of a popular U.K. quiz-based game show, as well as a New Jersey music festival.


  1. My cousin tells me that "bamboozle" is still used with great frequency in South Indian English.

    But then again, she lives in the forest under the rule a gypsy magnate, so I don't know if she can't be trusted.

  2. Love the pic in this post, by the way.