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perplex

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verb per·plex \pər-ˈpleks\

Simple Definition of perplex

  • : to confuse (someone) very much

Full Definition of perplex

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make unable to grasp something clearly or to think logically and decisively about something <her attitude perplexes me> <a perplexing problem>

  3. 2 :  to make intricate or involved :  complicate

Examples of perplex

  1. Questions about the meaning of life have always perplexed humankind.

  2. <let's not perplex the issue further with irrelevant concerns>



Origin of perplex

obsolete perplex, adjective, involved, perplexed, from Latin perplexus, from per- thoroughly + plexus involved, from past participle of plectere to braid, twine — more at per-, ply


First Known Use: 1593

Synonym Discussion of perplex

puzzle, perplex, bewilder, distract, nonplus, confound, dumbfound mean to baffle and disturb mentally. puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve <the persistent fever puzzled the doctor>. perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision <a behavior that perplexed her friends>. bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking <a bewildering number of possibilities>. distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests <distracted by personal problems>. nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible <the remark left us utterly nonplussed>. confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement <the tragic news confounded us all>. dumbfound suggests intense but momentary confounding; often the idea of astonishment is so stressed that it becomes a near synonym of astound <was at first too dumbfounded to reply>.


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