Spring Has Sprung: Tricky Terms for April Fool's Day: April 1

You'd be a fool not to learn these words related to pranks, jokes, and deceit.

For more on the history of these words, read The Cunning, Risible Holiday of April Fool's Day.
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. antic
    ludicrously odd
    We watch her Little Rascal antics increasingly sure that something terrible is going to happen.New York Times (Oct 5, 2017)
  2. bamboozle
    conceal one's true motives from
    Along the way GhostSecGroup has bamboozled the press, which is unfortunate, because it’s not clear that GhostSecGroup knows what it’s doing.Slate (Dec 10, 2015)
  3. bluff
    pretense that your position is stronger than it really is
    It’s hard to see how his style would fit in political or diplomatic negotiations, where compromise is necessary and bluffing is dangerous.Washington Post (Mar 3, 2016)
  4. buffoon
    a person who amuses others by ridiculous behavior
    Advertisers can make galleries, whereas you and I still have to post every photo individually like buffoons.The Verge (Oct 17, 2015)
    In the 1500s, this word evolved from a French word for a jester: buffoons paid the bills by making jokes, juggling balls, and performing other lowbrow feats. Nowadays a buffoon is just a doofus.
  5. cozen
    be dishonest with
    I could forgive him had he not tricked you and deceived you, cozened you and flattered you--into this!Weyman, Stanley J.
  6. cunning
    showing inventiveness and skill
    That sort of obfuscation may be a cunning way to sell used cars.Los Angeles Times (Mar 8, 2017)
    To trick someone on April Fool’s Day, you have to be cunning. This is a word to describe the tricky and sly.
  7. delude
    be dishonest with
    Don’t delude yourself that you will one day get him to “see the light” and come around to your point of view.Time (Jul 24, 2015)
  8. dupe
    fool or hoax
    “They paid the money. And then they found out it was a scam. They were upset. And they feel duped.”The Guardian (Mar 20, 2016)
  9. gullible
    naive and easily deceived or tricked
    Lawyers for the brokers said the men didn’t actually help Mr. Hayes and instead were simply telling the gullible trader what he wanted to hear.Wall Street Journal (Jan 27, 2016)
  10. hoax
    something intended to deceive
    Police say they knew it was a hoax, but they took Armaan into custody because he confessed to making up the threat.Washington Times (Dec 29, 2015)
  11. hoodwink
    influence by slyness
    Somehow, the advertising industry has hoodwinked us into thinking that we have to drop everything today and make purchases or … or what?Slate (Nov 27, 2015)
  12. hornswoggle
    (offensive) deprive of by deceit
    Our means are greater than we have been hornswoggled into thinking they are!Salon (Jan 5, 2011)
  13. idiot
    a person of subnormal intelligence
    In January I deleted all the social media apps from my phone because they were turning me into an idiot.The Guardian (Mar 14, 2017)
    The always popular term idiot has had a wild history, sliding between slang, medicine, and the law.
  14. jest
    activity characterized by good humor
    The parties involved in the exchange told investigators they were just joking, and those investigators concluded the messages were written in jest.Los Angeles Times (Oct 7, 2016)
    To jest is to joke, though jest sounds fairly archaic these days. A person who jests is a jester: a rare word for the butt of a jester’s jibes is jestee.
  15. mendacious
    intentionally untrue
    No one should be surprised if Russian forces renew their offensive in the coming days, while Moscow’s mendacious propaganda apparatus blames Ukraine.Washington Post
  16. prank
    a ludicrous or grotesque act done for fun and amusement
    A few days later, the author of the dead-frog prank saluted her when he opened a desk drawer and found horse manure wrapped in wax paper.Seattle Times (Nov 12, 2017)
  17. quip
    a witty saying
    “Good clothes open doors,” Welch quipped when asked the best bit of style advice she ever received.Seattle Times (Mar 16, 2017)
  18. risible
    arousing or provoking laughter
    How do you write a play about the British royal family without making its members seem risible, banal or irrelevant?New York Times (Nov 9, 2015)
  19. snooker
    fool or dupe
    The Department of Energy snookered the media last week with a report that seems to show that its clean energy lending programs are profitable.Forbes (Nov 17, 2014)
  20. swindle
    (offensive) deprive of by deceit
    Last year, he allegedly swindled some two dozen people by selling them — for cash — phony pilgrimages to see Pope Francis in Philadelphia.US News (Feb 2, 2016)
Created on March 22, 2016 (updated March 27, 2020)

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