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Q: Old English word for mystifying ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   16 Comments )
Subject: Old English word for mystifying
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: redmango-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 19 Feb 2003 16:53 PST
Expires: 21 Mar 2003 16:53 PST
Question ID: 163667
Tell me the Old English word(s) for "mystifying" that end in e and
that contain repeated b's. The word I am looking for is not totally
arcane, e.g. you might see some use of it in modern english.
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
Answered By: feilong-ga on 19 Feb 2003 18:23 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Redmango,

Below are the meanings for the root word "mystify":

Mystify [Fr. mystifier, irreg. f. mystere MYSTERY n.1 or mystique
MYSTIC: see -FY.] I v.t.
1 Bewilder, perplex; play on the credulity of; hoax.
2 Wrap up or involve in mystery; make mystical; interpret mystically.
3 Involve in obscurity; obscure the meaning or character of.
4 Cause bewilderment or perplexity. mystifyingly adv. - in a
mystifying manner

verb - confuse, bewilder, confound, perplex, baffle, nonplus, puzzle,
elude, escape; inf. stump, beat, bamboozle.

(Excerpted from Oxford Talking Dictionary Copyright © 1998 The
Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Looking at the last given synonym for the word and based on your
description that it has repeated b's (in this case, it has two) and
ends in "e", I believe the word you are looking for is BAMBOOZLE. The
word means:

Bamboozle - v. & n. slang. E18. [Prob. of cant origin: cf. BAM v. &
n.] Av.
1 v.t. Hoax, deceive, trick, cheat.
2 v.t. Mystify, perplex.
3 v.i. Practise trickery. rare.
n. = BAMBOOZLEMENT. rare. E18.
bamboozlement n. hoaxing; cheating; tricky deception; mystification:
M19. bamboozler n. E18.

(Excerpted from Oxford Talking Dictionary Copyright © 1998 The
Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Bamboozle was mentioned in 1710 by Swift in the Tatler no. 230 (on
"the continual Corruption of our English Tongue") among other slang
terms recently invented or brought into vogue. A search on the history
of this word yielded this result:

Bamboozle [vb. bam-BOO-zul]
To deceive or cheat by cunning is to bamboozle. Example: "The salesman
bamboozled the woman into buying a junk car."
Other underhanded methods that are near synonyms to bamboozle include
dupe, hoodwink, snow, betray, lead astray, fool and swindle.
The origins of this slang expression are as confused as the word
itself. Perhaps it is of Scottish origin. There was a 17th century
Scottish verb bombaze (to perplex). Bamboozle first appeared in the
early 1700s. In 1710 it was on Jonathan Swift's list of the latest
buzzwords (others included bully, mob and sham).

Search strategy:

"mystify" and "bamboozle"
Oxford Talking Dictionary

bamboozle "history of the word" in Google web search

You are absolutely correct with regards to the popular use of the word
in modern English. A cursory search yielded 13,200 results using
Google web search.

I hope this helps you. Should you have any comments/questions, please
feel free to post your clarification before rating this and I'll
attend to you as soon as possible. Thanks for being a frequent user of
this service.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 20 Feb 2003 14:33 PST
Thank you for the prompt + thorough answer. Bamboozle does not,
however, seem to be the word I am looking for.

I have just recieved new information on the word that will broaden the
search rather than narrow it. First of all, the word does not
necessarily mean 'mystify' or any form of it, but could mean
'mysterious' or something else with the same general meaning.
Secondly, I am not sure if the word comes from Old English, but I know
that it has limited usage nowadays and was a more common word in the

Also, I am almost certain that repeated b's refers to two b's in a
row, rather than 2 b's in the word.

If you can find a few more words that match most or all of these
criteria, I would appreciate it very much. Maybe $3.75 isn't adequate
compensation for an extension of this search - if so, please let me
know and I may be able to slightly raise the price of the question.
However, I really am looking for a single specific word and bamboozle
is not the one.

Don't feel obligated to continue searching - if you prefer, I'll leave
this answer unrated and post the question again separately. Drop me a
line . Thanks for your time, and good luck.


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 20 Feb 2003 19:00 PST
Hi Redmango,

Thank you very much for making your clarification. Your clarification
definitely broadened the search. I'll look for the word based on your
new description. Does the word still necessarilly end with "e"?

Please give me some time and i'll give you an update. Thank you very


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 21 Feb 2003 10:51 PST
Hi Redmango,

I've been scanning my dictionary in search of an answer and I came
across this word. It doesn't end with "e" but, like "flabbergast"
which has repeated b's, is a good fit. Try to see if this is the one
your are looking for and I'll continue my search for the meantime. If
it is, please let me know.

cabbalistic - having a private or mystic sense.

The word comes from "cabbala",  an old word that has been used since
1521. See meaning below:

cabbala - 1521, from M.L. cabbala, from Heb. qabbalah "received lore,
tradition," especially "pretended tradition of mystical interpretation
of the Old Testament."

I hope this is the one. If not, please let me know.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 23 Feb 2003 17:28 PST
Hi Feilong,

Hm - I posted a clarification a few minutes ago, but it didn't seem to
work. Alright..."cabbalistic" was a very good guess. It seems that
that word, Cabbalistic, is very close to what I am looking for,
however, not exact.

The word I am looking for is similar to "cabbalistic" (maybe having
the same stem or root word). It begins with 'c' and ends in 'e'. It is
a verb.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 25 Feb 2003 07:14 PST
Hi Redmango,

I would like to let you know that I'm still searching for the exact
word that you are looking for. If you have any clues that could help,
please don't hesitate to put it here. Thanks.


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 26 Feb 2003 07:47 PST
Hi Redmango,

I have to admit that I'm seriously perplexed by your query.
Nevertheless, I'm still continuing on the search.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 27 Feb 2003 15:40 PST

I have no new information. Keep in mind that "cabbalistic" is quite
close, but I'm looking for a verb form that ends in e.

Again  --  don't feel obligated to continue searching. It seems to be
a lot of work for not too much money. If you like, I can try to find a
way to add a little bit of money (either by raising the question price
or tipping).  Or, if you're getting sick of doing this (I imagine I'd
be!) I will leave the question unrated and open the same question
again. Maybe another researcher will have better luck.

That said, if you're still up for it,  so am I! And thanks again for
all your help.


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 27 Feb 2003 20:04 PST
Hi Redmango,

I'm don't feel obligated nor sick of searching. Yes it's tedious but
in this case, it has become a personal challenge for me so I'm not
really after the amount nor the rating. I took your word from your
previous clarification that it's close to "cabbalistic". The thing
that keeps ringing in my mind in the past few days is "begins with
'c', with repeated b's, and ends in 'e' ". It's very tempting to
declare that what you are looking for is "cabbalize" but there ain't
such a word.

However, a fellow researcher, Journalist, gave me this information.
This is the first result of typing "cabbalise" in Google web search:

"Révélations de S'boub sur le Temple (présentation humoristique ... [
Translate this page ]
... couverture. En effet, on recrute quelques chevaliers qui y croient
à mort et tranquilement dans l'ombre on cabbalise à tout va. ... - 14k - 

In using the Google Translate this Page, it came up in the context
'There it is guessed well that the crusades are only one cover.
Indeed, one recruits some knights who believe in it in dead and
tranquilement in the shade one cabbalise with all goes.'

If it is a French spelling for cabbalistic, or some kind of cabal
reference, then it might have been used in Old English as many French
words were. Someone fluent in French may be able to tell you."

Based on the translation, it doesn't sound like cabbalise is the word
you are looking for. My friend also asked me if I tried other
equivalent words for mystify or mysterious. I verified that I did but
it yielded nothing.

I'll continue my search Redmango even if you post the question again.
That way you will have two people working on it. Thanks for being
patient and open-minded.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 02 Mar 2003 11:56 PST
The clue above must mean that the first 3 letters of the word are
"cab". Unfortunately, that's not much help... very sorry. I'll try to
get more.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 02 Mar 2003 18:45 PST
Here's the latest clue:

"baseball players sold in fast food restaurants"


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 02 Mar 2003 19:41 PST
Thanks. I'll look into it.

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 02 Mar 2003 21:07 PST
"take a taxi 
first three letters"

It could mean "cab" or "tax". It could also be "cub", simply playing
with the sound of "cab".

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 04 Mar 2003 10:35 PST
Hello Redmango,

You know what, your question is one of the most challenging I've had
so far. Even my editor friends are stumped! This question keeps going
in my head even before I sleep. I really want to crack this case so I
beseech thee to provide me the info I need below. I'm checking on the
latest clues you gave me and it would help me if you can verify some

1) Could you please verify if the word is English word (not German,
Latin, etc.)?
2) Could you please verify to the person asking you if the phrase
"repeated b's" absolutely means that the word contains a 'b' followed
immediately by another 'b' or not necessarily like the word
'bamboozle' that I used earlier?
3) I'm thinking about something based on the clues "baseball players
sold in fast food restaurants" and "take a taxi". It might help me if
you can give me your location. Please don't put your exact address,
just a general location of where you are (ex. San Diego, California).
4) Is there a taxi name in your area that begins with 'dis'? Can you
give me the taxi names in your area?
Funny, but sometimes, even the most unexpected clues can solve a
'mystifying' question. ;-)


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 05 Mar 2003 13:44 PST

Wow! Thanks for your efforts. I'm in the process of checking with my
friend regarding your questions.

Here's what I can provide at the moment:

-The most likely lead for 'take a taxi' is that the word begins with
'cab'. I don't think it goes much further than that.

-I live in the Washington, DC area. 

Hopefully more soon...

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 05 Mar 2003 13:57 PST
Thanks. I'll wait for your reply. Maybe next time we can put our
communication int he "comments" area. This thread is getting too long.

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 10 Mar 2003 12:32 PST
Good news Redmango!

"It's very tempting to declare that what you are looking for is
"cabbalize" but there ain't such a word."

I mentioned this in my earlier clarification but I wasn't able to
verify it through my own sources and online. Using "cabbalize" as the
search word won't give you anything to find its meaning. Because of
that, I thought that the word did not exist until I got confirmation
from a very fine colleague of mine.

"From the Oxford English Dictionary (Unabridged): 

Cabbalize, verb, obsolete: to use or affect the manner of the
cabbalists; to speak mystically.

This word has the double Bs, it ends in E, and the clue about "take a
taxi" fits 'cab'."

The answer fits well to all your requirements.

In all honesty, I don't feel that I deserve to get a rating for this
one. Credit goes to Pinkfreud-ga who is among the best researchers
here because if not for her, I won't be able to confirm my earlier
mention of the word. Thanks Pink. You are a researcher's researcher :)

To you Redmango, thanks for being such a very patient and loyal user
of Google Answers.

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 12 Mar 2003 19:43 PST

To further support the answer, "cabbalize", here is a scan of the

You can find it at Page 311, Volume 1 of The Compact Edition of the
Oxford English Dictionary (Complete Text Reproduced Micrographically),
Oxford University Press
Twentieth U.S. Printing, January 1981

As researchers for Googles Answers, we need to give you the source of
the answer to back it up. In this case, we have given you a reputable
source so it is actually up to you if you will consider Xarqi-ga's
comment below. However, before you do, I suggest that you keep an open
mind and also read Aceresearcher's comment that follows after that.

Thanks for your question. It's been fun and challenging for us.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 13 Mar 2003 16:59 PST

If you'll scroll down to the Comments section, there are some new
clues there. Much to my disappointment, Cabbalize isn't the word.
Another researcher suggested Cabobble -- I'll run that by my friend
and see if it's right.

Either way, the amount of work you have done for this is nothing short
of astounding. Thanks very much for all your efforts!

Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 13 Mar 2003 17:39 PST

The one who suggested "cabobble" below is not a researcher. You will
notice that a researcher's name appears as a link you can click on.
Any user of this service is free to post his or her opinions in the
comments section. As for the answer provided here, it is supported by
a reputable source. It resulted from the clues you've provided. As you
can see in our earlier clarifications, I tried to get all the clues
from you. Had you given me the other clues you mentioned below BEFORE
I gave you the word "cabbalize", I'm sure that we will also get the
word "cabobble". However, I advise you to read the comments of
Aceresearcher. As far as I'm concerned, I did all I can and went the
extra mile to give you the right answer based from your clues. In this
case, it is clear that the validity of the answer given here rests
solely on your own judgement. Thanks for your question.


Request for Answer Clarification by redmango-ga on 15 Mar 2003 20:34 PST

Cabobble was indeed the one. My friend's clues were a little vague and
occasionally just wrong--your answer was immensely thorough and I
appreciate it very much.


Clarification of Answer by feilong-ga on 15 Mar 2003 22:56 PST
Dear Redmango,

Thank you very much for your nice comment and generous tip. I hope I
can be of service to you again. :-)

(I posted my reply here to disable the notification to respond to the
clarification request. If you need to add a comment, please put it in
the comments area. Again, thank you very much.)
redmango-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Feilong truly did go the extra mile. This answer was nothing short of
exceptional. Thanks very much.

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: justaskscott-ga on 19 Feb 2003 18:48 PST
It might be worth noting that, while many dictionaries list the origin
of bamboozle as "unknown", a good etymology resource speculates that
it is "perhaps Scottish from bombaze 'perplex,' related to bombast, or
Fr. embabuiner 'to make a fool (lit. 'baboon') of.'"

"Etymology B-Bas"
Online Etymology Dictionary

While "bombaze" is Scottish, not Old English, its meaning "perplex" is
certainly synonymous to "mystify".
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: magnesium-ga on 19 Feb 2003 18:48 PST
There are some problems with this answer.

If, as the researcher indicates, "bamboozle" came into use in the 18th
Century, then it is certainly not an Old English word. Old English is
generally considered to be the period from approximately 600 to

Also, I would assume that the requirement that the term contain
"repeated b's" means that the word must have two b's together (as in
the word "babble.") "Bamboozle" contains multiple b's, but I wouldn't
say that it contains repeated b's.
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: robertskelton-ga on 20 Feb 2003 17:21 PST
It doesn't end in "e", but otherwise is a good fit...

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: redmango-ga on 02 Mar 2003 11:54 PST
I just recieved this rather--er, mystifying--clue about the word.   

The person who has challenged me to find out her word provides the following:

take a taxi
first three letters

Can you make anything of it?

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 03 Mar 2003 15:44 PST
According to, there
are just 7 words less than 30 letters long that begin with "c", end
with "e", and contain "bb".  These are:
cabbage, cabbie, caribbee, cobble, cobblestone, cribbage, and
I don't recognise any of these as having a meaning remotely like
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: redmango-ga on 11 Mar 2003 16:38 PST

Would you believe this!

My friend has said that cabbalize is not correct. This really
surprised me -- when I read your latest comment, I thought the search
was over.

The good news is that she has provided some additional clues:

1) The word contains three b's. 2 of them are in a row ('bb') and the
third is separate.

2) _____  _____ dolls

3) cab_ _ _ _e

4) These items (___ ___ dolls, I suspect)  were at one point being
given away at fast food restaurants.

5) The word is not necessarily Old English per se, just "something
like that".

Best of luck! 

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: hatchetman-ga on 11 Mar 2003 16:55 PST
I'm going out on a limb here to say, "bobble". As in "bobble-head dolls".
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: hatchetman-ga on 11 Mar 2003 16:58 PST
There are a lot of baseball bobble-heads and they are frequently given
away at fast-food chains. Taxi drivers are also known to have them on
their dashboards.
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 11 Mar 2003 17:33 PST
And the answer is:::::

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 11 Mar 2003 22:31 PST
Oops - after all that - a typo!  The answer is -----

Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: aceresearcher-ga on 12 Mar 2003 12:25 PST

If "cabobble" is indeed the word that your friend intended, go tell
them that you win the bet.

The "book" referred to in xarqi's link
is a compilation of made-up words that NEVER officially entered the
lexicon, in Old English or any other time. If that's their definition
of a "word", then you can supply them with "cababblebobbleize" and
tell them that your "word" is just as valid as theirs.

I'm not fond of people who try to fool other people with dirty tricks.


Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 12 Mar 2003 14:16 PST
I'm reminded of what the Queen of Hearts said in Alice in Wonderland
(I think):
"When I use a word, it means exactly what I want it to mean, neither
more, nor less".

An interesting point now arises - the self-fulfilling prophesy.  I
suspect that many among those who worked on this quest will adopt this
neologism, and so it's path to legitimisation will have started. 
Before long, it will be entirely "cromulent"  (One for the Simpson's
fans out there).  Sure, it may not be Old English, but as the poser
said, it could perhaps be considered "something like that".

But I do agree, it has very weak provenance.
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: juggler-ga on 12 Mar 2003 18:37 PST
Not to nitpick, but Humpty Dumpty said the "When I use a word..." bit
in "Through the Looking-Glass."
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 12 Mar 2003 19:45 PST
juggler: Thanks - I wasn't exactly sure who said it myself - now I know!
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: xarqi-ga on 12 Mar 2003 20:46 PST
I guess which answer you choose depends on whether you want a bonafide
English word that fits the bill, or the word your friend is thinking
of.  As the question was stated originally, "cabbalize" seems the
superior answer; although subsequent clarifications, such as the
presence of an additional 'b' rule it out.

Had the original question been along the lines of "what word does my
friend think means...", the the answer is very likely to be

Ultimately, it makes little difference - since I am not a legitimate
GA researcher, I cannot claim the fee.  I suggest it rightly belongs
to Feilong, whose answer derived from a great deal of research;
whereas mine really culminated from, shall we say, an inspired guess.
Subject: Re: Old English word for mystifying
From: feilong-ga on 12 Mar 2003 23:16 PST

Just to inform you, all answers in the "Comments" area, either from a
researcher or a non-researcher are deemed free. The only paid answer
is the one in the "Answer" area. Everyone is free to give answers as
comments here but no matter how many answers a person puts here, no
payment can be expected. Please don't misinterpret me Xarqi, I'm not
negatively reacting to your comments. I'm just making this thing clear
to. In fact, I appreciate your comments and the link that you
provided. Thanks for sharing to us your "inspired guess".

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