August 31, 2014
hoax (noun)
\HOHKS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : an act intended to trick or deceive2 : something false passed off or accepted as genuine
How do you use it?
Though the children convinced the world that the pictures of fairies were real, they later revealed that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax.
Are you a word wiz?

Word experts aren't certain of the origin of "hoax," but they think one of the answers below is the probable explanation. Which answer do you think it is?

No joke: the answer is A! "Hoax" first entered English in the late 1700s as a verb meaning "to trick." Etymologists believe that the verb is actually an alteration of the earlier verb "hocus," meaning "to trick or deceive," and that verb "hocus" derived from the earlier "hocus-pocus." "Hocus-pocus" is not just a word used in magical spells, but also refers to deceptive talk or practices. "Hocus-pocus" entered English in the mid-1600s, and the noun "hoax" in the early 1800s.
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