[kuhz-uh n]

verb (used with or without object)

to cheat, deceive, or trick.

Origin of cozen

1565–75; perhaps < Old North French coçonner to resell, verbal derivative of coçon retailer (< Latin coctiōnem, accusative of coctiō, cōciō dealer), influenced by Middle French cousin dupe, literally, cousin
Related formscoz·en·er, nouncoz·en·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cozen

Historical Examples of cozen

  • It is the same with cousin (consanguineus), and to cozen or to deceive.

    English Past and Present

    Richard Chevenix Trench

  • He had come to cozen me into letting him use me in return for a mockery of an honor.

    The Plum Tree

    David Graham Phillips

  • Smile with an intent to do mischief, or cozen him whom he salutes.

    Familiar Quotations

    John Bartlett

  • But they cannot cozen it: they can only cozen their neighbours.

  • The world looks to them as if they could cozen it out of some ways and means of life.

British Dictionary definitions for cozen



to cheat or trick (someone)
Derived Formscozenage, nouncozener, noun

Word Origin for cozen

C16: cant term perhaps related to cousin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cozen

1560s, of uncertain origin; perhaps from French cousiner "cheat on pretext of being a cousin;" or from Middle English cosyn "fraud, trickery" (mid-15c.), which is perhaps related to Old French coçon "dealer, merchant, trader," from Latin cocionem "horse dealer." Related: Cozened; cozening; cozenage.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper