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Dupe vs Gull vs Befool vs Trick vs Hoax vs Hoodwink vs Bamboozle

Dupe, gull, befool, trick, hoax, hoodwink, bamboozle mean to delude a person by underhand means or for one’s own ends.

Dupe suggests unwariness or unsuspiciousness on the part of the person or persons deluded and the acceptance of what is false as true, what is counterfeit as genuine, or what is worthless as valuable.

Gull implies great credulousness or a disposition that lends itself to one’s being easily imposed upon or made a laughingstock of.

Befool stresses the effect on the victim, that of being made a fool of in his own eyes or in those of others; it does not so strongly suggest a temperamental weakness in the victim as the preceding words, nor so clearly imply an intent to delude on the part of the agent, as most of the words that follow.

Trick implies the intent to delude on the part of the agent by means of a stratagem or ruse, by wiles, or by fraud; it suggests the deliberate intent to deceive, but it need not imply a base end. It may, for example, imply illusion as the end.

It more often suggests deliberate misleading and the use of cunning or craft.

Hoax may imply indulgence in tricking as a sport or for the purpose of proving how gullible a person or persons can be when a skillful imposture or fabrication is presented to them; it more often suggests a fraud intended to deceive even the most skeptical and often, also, to work for one’s own profit or personal advantage.

Hoodwink connotes either a deliberate confusing intended to blind the mind of another to the truth, or, less often, self-delusion arising from one’s inability to distinguish the false from the truez.

Bamboozle usually implies the use of such methods as cajolery, humbug, or illusion to dupe or confuse; the word is often used interchangeably with trick, hoax, or hoodwink, but it is less definite or fixed in its implications.