Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

puzzle

play
verb puz·zle \ˈpə-zəl\

Simple Definition of puzzle

  • : to confuse (someone) : to be difficult for (someone) to understand

Full Definition of puzzle

puz·zledpuz·zling play \ˈpə-zə-liŋ, ˈpəz-liŋ\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to offer or represent to (as a person) a problem difficult to solve or a situation difficult to resolve :  challenge mentally; also :  to exert (as oneself) over such a problem or situation <they puzzled their wits to find a solution>

  3. 2 archaic :  complicate, entangle

  4. 3 :  to solve with difficulty or ingenuity <puzzle out an answer to a riddle>

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to be uncertain as to action or choice

  7. 2 :  to attempt a solution of a puzzle by guesswork or experiment <puzzle over the mystery>

puz·zler play \ˈpə-zə-lər, ˈpəz-lər\ noun

Examples of puzzle

  1. The cause of the accident has puzzled investigators.

  2. <it is the cause of the disease that puzzles doctors>



Origin of puzzle

origin unknown


First Known Use: 1582

Synonym Discussion of puzzle

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>.

Rhymes with puzzle


2

puzzle

noun puz·zle

Simple Definition of puzzle

  • : a question or problem that requires thought, skill, or cleverness to be answered or solved

  • : something or someone that is difficult to understand

Full Definition of puzzle

  1. 1 :  the state of being puzzled :  perplexity

  2. 2 a :  something that puzzles b :  a question, problem, or contrivance designed for testing ingenuity

Examples of puzzle

  1. a book of puns, riddles, and puzzles

  2. <the final fate of the colonists at Roanoke remains a puzzle to this very day>



1599

First Known Use of puzzle

1599

Synonym Discussion of puzzle

mystery, problem, enigma, riddle, puzzle mean something which baffles or perplexes. mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation <the mystery of the stone monoliths>. problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern <problems created by high technology>. enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret <his suicide remains an enigma>. riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction <the riddle of the reclusive pop star>. puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution <the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police>.


PUZZLE Defined for Kids

1

puzzle

play
verb puz·zle \ˈpə-zəl\

Definition of puzzle

puz·zledpuz·zling

  1. 1 :  confuse 1, perplex <The mysterious phone call puzzles me.>

  2. 2 :  to solve by thought or by clever guessing <She tried to puzzle out the crime.>



Headscratcher for puzzle

Puzzle has two opposite meanings. If something puzzles you, it confuses you. If you puzzle out a problem or mystery, you solve it.


2

puzzle

play
noun puz·zle

Definition of puzzle

  1. 1 :  a question, problem, or device intended to test skill or cleverness

  2. 2 :  jigsaw puzzle

  3. 3 :  something that perplexes :  mystery





Seen and Heard

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

WORD OF THE DAY

February 14, 2016

to hug and kiss another person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

100 pounds 2.2 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ