con·​found | \kən-ˈfau̇nd, kän-\
confounded; confounding; confounds

Definition of confound 

transitive verb

1a archaic : to bring to ruin : destroy

b : baffle, frustrate Conferences … are not for accomplishment but to confound knavish tricks.— John Kenneth Galbraith

2 obsolete : consume, waste

3a : to put to shame : discomfit a performance that confounded the critics

b : refute sought to confound his arguments

4 : damn

5 : to throw (a person) into confusion or perplexity tactics to confound the enemy

6a : to fail to discern differences between : mix up They implored Charles not to confound the innocent with the guilty …— T. B. Macaulay

b : to increase the confusion of

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Other Words from confound

confounder \kən-​ˈfau̇n-​dər, kän-​ \ noun
confoundingly \kən-​ˈfau̇n-​diŋ-​lē, kän-​ \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for confound

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

Examples of confound in a Sentence

The strategy confounded our opponents. The murder case has confounded investigators. The school's team confounded all predictions and won the game. The success of the show confounded critics.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Crocs themselves aren’t responsible for the confounding relevance of footwear like Birkenstocks and Tevas over the past five-plus years. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Crocs is now targeting teens. Somehow, it’s working.," 1 Nov. 2018 The division has experienced so many losses, so much mediocre play, so many confounding performances that: Every team has multiple conference losses. Jon Wilner Pac-12 Hotline, The Seattle Times, "Pac-12 Power Rankings: Is WSU’s win over Oregon enough to overtake Washington?," 22 Oct. 2018 Mired in a confounding losing streak since the start of his NASCAR Cup career in 2016, Chase Elliott finally broke into the win column Sunday, holding off road course ace Martin Truex Jr. at Watkins Glen. John Kekis, Fox News, "Chase Elliott gets first NASCAR Sprint Cup win at Watkins Glen," 6 Aug. 2018 There’s only room for about eight guests at Waltz, a standing-room-only wine bar in a GPS-confounding location about 10 minutes away from Ebisu station. Melinda Joe, Condé Nast Traveler, "20 Best Bars in Tokyo," 27 Feb. 2018 The telling, hopeful, perilous, confounding greatness of baseball rests with its 162-game season. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: Reds should hold cards until after the season," 1 July 2018 The geographic disparity in the clusters has helped confound officials in tracking the source of the outbreak deeper than the Yuma region. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak update: Florida and Texas now among states with cases | Miami Herald," 9 May 2018 And the subjects were kept in dim light, so as not to confound the results since many oscillating genes are light-sensitive. Megha Satyanarayana, STAT, "Stubborn genes: New research looks at how our bodies respond (or don’t) to night shift work," 7 May 2018 No matter how confounding the politics or embarrassing the legislature, Texas will always be home. Cecile Richards,, "A turning point for Texas' deep-red politics?," 23 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confound.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of confound

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for confound

Middle English confounden "to defeat, destroy, frustrate, bewilder," borrowed from Anglo-French confondre, going back to Latin confundere "to pour together, blend, bring into disorder, destroy, disconcert," from con- con- +fundere "to pour, shed" — more at found entry 5

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Statistics for confound

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for confound

The first known use of confound was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for confound



English Language Learners Definition of confound

: to surprise and confuse (someone or something)

: to prove (someone or something) wrong

—used as an interjection to express anger or annoyance


con·​found | \kən-ˈfau̇nd, kän-\
confounded; confounding

Kids Definition of confound

: confuse sense 1 The crime has confounded police.

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More from Merriam-Webster on confound

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confound

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for confound

Spanish Central: Translation of confound

Nglish: Translation of confound for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confound for Arabic Speakers

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