Thursday, February 01, 2018


Pete from Northport, Michigan, asked about the word hoodwink. It means to trick or deceive, and it has two components.

Hood is the obvious segment. A hood is a covering for the head, and it tracks back to 8th century Germanic words that meant a hat. Currently, we reserve the word wink to mean a quick flicker of the eyelid, but in the time of King Alfred and for a few centuries thereafter, it meant to close one’s eyes completely in preparation for sleep.

So, once upon a time, to hoodwink was to throw a hood over a person’s head to block his or her vision. In fact, before it was used on people – as in execution by hanging – it was used on falcons. A hood over the bird’s head was a device to calm the creature. Somewhere around the late 16th century or early 17th century, it took on its figurative meaning.

During the same program, Herb Lemcool called from his winter Florida home to tell us about hoodwink glasses. He associates them with the Odd Fellows Club, but a google search keeps turning up references to the Masons. The following Masonic website offers illustrations and an explanation of hoodwinking glasses once used in the initiation rituals as a symbol of darkness and ignorance:

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about two year’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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