con·​found | \ kən-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce confound (audio) , kän- \
confounded; confounding; confounds

Definition of confound

transitive verb

1 : to throw (a person) into confusion or perplexity tactics to confound the enemy
2a : refute sought to confound his arguments
b : to put to shame : discomfit a performance that confounded the critics
3 : damn
4a : 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
5a : baffle, frustrate Conferences … are not for accomplishment but to confound knavish tricks.— John Kenneth Galbraith
b archaic : to bring to ruin : destroy
6 obsolete : consume, waste

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Other Words from confound

confounder \ kən-​ˈfau̇n-​dər How to pronounce confounder (audio) , kän-​ \ noun
confoundingly \ kən-​ˈfau̇n-​diŋ-​lē How to pronounce confoundingly (audio) , 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 Styles feels like a modern-day chameleonic artist with the ability to surprise and confound us yet keep us at arm’s length. Washington Post, "How Harry Styles navigated solo stardom, from One Direction to ‘Fine Line’," 13 Dec. 2019 How that driver managed to miss Lewis confounds him, James said. Tonya Alanez,, "‘He came out of nowhere,’ says driver in crash that killed pedestrian on I-95 overpass," 11 Nov. 2019 Tweaks suggested by first-year pitching coach Doug White confounded him. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Jose Suarez takes a positive step forward, but Angels fall to Astros," 28 Sep. 2019 In his upcoming book, Andre Iguodala shared a priceless story about teammate Klay Thompson, the Warriors’ unassuming and eminently likeable star who often times confounds us. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Klay Thompson’s best moment as a Warrior? It will surprise you," 19 June 2019 In another recent instance that privately confounded Republican lawmakers, the White House recruited multiple Republican senators to block attempts to pass legislation formally recognizing the Armenian genocide. Edward Wong, New York Times, "Congress Wants to Force Trump’s Hand on Human Rights in China and Beyond," 27 Dec. 2019 The discovery marked the end of a missing person’s case that had confounded police since Broussard was last seen dropping her son off at a South Austin elementary school on the morning of Dec. 12. Brandon Mulder, USA TODAY, "Texas mom killed in plot to kidnap her baby to be remembered at vigil," 23 Dec. 2019 Last week, Pettway registered his third touchdown of the year on a 51-yard double pass from Jones that confounded Iowa’s secondary. Luke Meredith, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sloppy Cyclones look to clean up mistakes," 17 Sep. 2019 The league created the list, in part, to give itself another option when presented with cases that have confounded the league since its controversial handling of the case of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice in 2014. Adam Kilgore,, "The NFL wanted a celebration for its 100th season. Instead it got Antonio Brown," 12 Sep. 2019

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 5b

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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Time Traveler for confound

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for confound

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confound.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for confound


How to pronounce confound (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of confound

: to surprise and confuse (someone or something)
: to prove (someone or something) wrong
informal + old-fashioned used as an interjection to express anger or annoyance


con·​found | \ kən-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce confound (audio) , 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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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