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Cornswoggled and Hornswoggled

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Margaret from Dallas, Texas, wonders about a word that both her grandfather and mother use: cornswoggled. It means “confused.” Cornswoggled is a variation of hornswoggled or hornswaggled, which originally meant “to be cheated” or “be deceived.” Slang words like these arose in the United States during a period in the 19th century when there was a fad for inventing fanciful words that sounded Latinate, such as confusticate meaning “confuse” or “confound,” goshbustified meaning “mightily pleased,” and absquatulate, meaning “to take one’s leave.” This is part of a complete episode.

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