Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun con·fu·sion \kən-ˈfyü-zhən\

Simple Definition of confusion

  • : a situation in which people are uncertain about what to do or are unable to understand something clearly

  • : the feeling that you have when you do not understand what is happening, what is expected, etc.

  • : a state or situation in which many things are happening in a way that is not controlled or orderly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of confusion

  1. 1 :  an act or instance of confusing <confusion of the issue>

  2. 2 a :  the quality or state of being confused <try to relieve their confusion> b :  a confused mass or mixture <a confusion of voices>

confusional play \-ˈfyüzh-nəl, -ˈfyü-zhə-nəl\ adjective

Examples of confusion in a sentence

  1. There is still some confusion as to the time of the meeting.

  2. There is a great deal of confusion about how the system works.

  3. the anxieties and confusions of teenage life

  4. He stared in confusion and disbelief.

  5. There was total confusion when the truck hit the restaurant.

14th Century

First Known Use of confusion

14th century

CONFUSION Defined for Kids


noun con·fu·sion \kən-ˈfyü-zhən\

Definition of confusion for Students

  1. 1 :  difficulty in understanding or in being able to tell one thing from a similar thing

  2. 2 :  a feeling or state of uncertainty

Word Root of confusion

The Latin word fundere, meaning “to pour,” and its form fūsus give us the roots fund and fus. Words from the Latin fundere have something to do with pouring. To refund is to pour someone's money back to her or him. Confusion exists when too many things are poured together so that they become uncertain and unclear. A profusion is a great quantity that seems to have been poured forth from a plentiful supply.

Medical Dictionary


noun con·fu·sion \kən-ˈfyü-zhən\

Medical Definition of confusion

  1. :  disturbance of consciousness characterized by inability to engage in orderly thought or by lack of power to distinguish, choose, or act decisively

confusional \-zhnəl, -zhən-əl\play adjective

Law Dictionary


noun con·fu·sion

Legal Definition of confusion

  1. 1 in the civil law of Louisiana :  a uniting of two interests or rights in property into one — compare merger 1

  2. 2 in the civil law of Louisiana :  the termination of an obligation by a person acquiring the right from which the obligation arose

  3. 3 :  the mixing or blending together of goods or commodities so that the individual owners cannot identify their own property —called also confusion of goods

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up confusion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


marked by grandiloquent style

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

perplex reduce disapprove soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.