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Posted by ESC on October 04, 2003

In Reply to: Hornswoggled posted by Stitch Jones on October 04, 2003

: "Well, I'll be hornswoggled!"
: It's a very strange word. My dictionary defines it as to be bamboozled or hoaxed (origin unknown). Can you give me any help in finding the root origin of this word?

HONEYFOGLE, HONEYFUG(G)LE - "to cheat, deceive, 1829; then to flatter, cajole, especially in order to gain a woman's favors; 1858. Honeyfogle and hornswoggle were both first recorded in 1829 as Kentucky words and could be forms of the same fanciful coinage. A separate but seemingly related word is the English dialect 'caniffle' , which became 'cunniffle' and finally 'connyfogle' , also meaning to deceive, flatter, cajole, the change from 'cani-' to 'cunni-' occurring after 'cunny' entered English in 1720 as a slang diminutive for 'c*nt,' the word 'cunniffle' than taken on the added meaning of cajolery to win sexual favors." From"Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982).