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

Such is the confounding paradox inherent to many of today’s big tech companies, which promise private, free communication tools while monitoring everything their users do. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 Having a control group — a set of comparable hospitals that, over the same period of time, did not receive the checklist — could have tested for these confounding factors. Ike Swetlitz, STAT, "Inside Ariadne Labs, Atul Gawande’s testing ground for new ideas in health care," 27 June 2018 Those gathered said dog shows like Detroit's are convivial for a general audience, despite their sometimes confounding conventions. Matthew Dolan, Detroit Free Press, "Prized pooches pampered, praised at Detroit Kennel Club annual show," 24 June 2018 TechCrunch previously reported that this convenient feature — and small semblance of order for Instagram’s confounding feed — was on the way. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Instagram will now tell you when you’ve seen all posts from the last two days," 2 July 2018 Wise, the strikingly singular R&B singer known as serpentwithfeet, seems to delight in confounding expectations. Shaun Brady,, "This University of the Arts grad has a pentagram tattooed on his face. He's also one of the most inventive singers working today," 25 June 2018 That apprehension has, at times, confounded restoration efforts. Ben Goldfarb, Science | AAAS, "Beaver dams without beavers? Artificial logjams are a popular but controversial restoration tool," 7 June 2018 The detectors are located deep underground to shield them from sources of radiation that might confound the results. Dan Falk /, NBC News, "What is dark matter?," 7 May 2018 Houston won 65 games this season, most in the NBA, on the strength of an offense that confounds with its simplicity. Lee Jenkins,, "Space City: How Faith Fuels the Rockets' Explosive Offense," 1 May 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

13 Sep 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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Comments on confound

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


the setting in which something occurs

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