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

While these pieces are targeting the influential social media audience, the move toward more colorful and graphically antic clothing might confound men who spend more time staring at spreadsheets than at their Instagram feeds. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Instagram Is Changing the Way Men Dress...for the Worse?," 30 May 2018 Upon first approach, the box might be a bit confounding. Libby Solomon,, "Knollwood 'Little Free Library' honors 58-year Towson resident, reader, mother," 18 May 2018 Maybe the finale will clear up what's been confusing, provide a logical explanation for what's been confounding, and make the character of Kristen Bayer-Boatwright less cringe-inducing. Kristi Turnquist,, "'Here and Now': HBO's Portland-set drama has been an intriguing disappointment," 12 Apr. 2018 The recent firming in inflation comes after a long period of tepid growth that had confounded investors and policy makers, who expected the strengthening economy and labor market to bolster prices. Ben Eisen, WSJ, "Investors Bet on Higher Rates as U.S. Inflation Firms," 12 July 2018 President Trump was due to speak Tuesday to Republican members of Congress on the issue, which has confounded both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue for a generation. Shane Harris, Anchorage Daily News, "Fight over detained children intensifies," 18 June 2018 It's built on malignant illusions that are meant to confound you, but serve only to rob the game of both drama and substance. Julie Muncy, WIRED, "All Games Are Illusions, But Far Cry 5 Is Nothing More," 9 Apr. 2018 What really confounds him and other Wall Street bankers about the case against AT&T is that there has not been a peep made by the government about Disney’s pending acquisition of 21st Century Fox. William D. Cohan, The Hive, "“It’s So Transparently Ridiculous”: Wall Street Groans as Its M&A Future Hangs on Trump’s Sham AT&T Trial," 29 Mar. 2018 Huizenga was most comfortable deferring to the experts in the field running his teams, but criticism found him and confounded him. Mike Clary,, "H. Wayne Huizenga, South Florida business titan, dead at 80," 23 Mar. 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

8 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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