con·​fuse | \kən-ˈfyüz \
confused; confusing

Definition of confuse 

transitive verb

1 archaic : to bring to ruin

2a : to make embarrassed : abash

b : to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off The directions she gave confused us.

3a : to make indistinct : blur Stop confusing the issue.

b : to mix indiscriminately : jumble Their arms, legs, and bodies were confused together, till they resembled … two serpents interlaced.— Thomas Medwin

c : to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other confuse money with comfort Do not confuse the words "flaunt" and "flout".

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Other Words from confuse

confusingly \ kən-​ˈfyü-​ziŋ-​lē \ adverb

Examples of confuse in a Sentence

The general was trying to confuse the enemy. The new evidence only confused matters further. You must be confusing me with someone else.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The women, almost across the board, gave enthusiastic yeses, whereas the men were confused by the entire notion of the question. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "The "Wonderful Weirdness" of Female Sexuality," 23 Oct. 2018 Zab Johnson, a professor of visual marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school, told me she was similarly confused by the campaign’s verbiage. Gaby Del Valle, Vox, "From Dove to Bumble, more companies are enlisting “real people” to market their products.," 18 Oct. 2018 Medical marijuana also is on the ballot in Missouri and while the concept has significant support, voters may be confused by its ballot presentation. David Eggert, The Seattle Times, "Marijuana backers look for Midwest breakthrough in November," 10 Oct. 2018 Fast forward 40 minutes and the older kids—four and two years old—were tired of Elmo; the youngest (6 months), probably confused by the electric noises issuing from behind his rear-facing car seat, was starting to lose it. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "So You’re a Lunatic Who Is Taking Your Toddlers on a Long-Haul Flight," 26 July 2018 News of the couple’s engagement came as a surprise to some who were confused by the timing seeing as Bieber recently split from Selena Gomez and Baldwin appeared at the Met Gala with then boyfriend Shawn Mendes just two months ago. Julius Young, Fox News, "Justin Bieber's engagement to Hailey Baldwin 'felt right,' source says," 10 July 2018 As a 12-year-old girl, Phoenix Moncada was petrified and confused by the physical changes of puberty – and resorted to cutting, or self-mutilation, over and over again. Samantha Young, sacbee, "Should ‘gender-affirming health care’ be on the radar for California’s foster kids?," 2 July 2018 Many among the crowd, which reached into the hundreds, appeared confused by the sudden division. Zahria Rogers, The Courier-Journal, "Immigration rally splits as group calls out Fischer over 'sanctuary city' policy," 30 June 2018 Odor will never be confused for Tony Gwynn, but for a .204 hitter over 162 games last season to hit .280 over 40 games, that's a significant improvement. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers’ most frustrating player working to shed that label," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'confuse.' 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 confuse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for confuse

Middle English confusen, back-formation from confused "frustrated, ruined," participle based on Anglo-French confus, borrowed from Latin confūsus, past participle of confundere "to pour together, blend, bring into disorder, destroy, disconcert" — more at confound

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Statistics for confuse

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confuse

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

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More Definitions for confuse



English Language Learners Definition of confuse

: to make (someone) uncertain or unable to understand something

: to make (something) difficult to understand

: to mistakenly think that one person or thing is another person or thing : to mistake (one person or thing) for another


con·​fuse | \kən-ˈfyüz \
confused; confusing

Kids Definition of confuse

1 : to make uncertain or unable to understand : perplex The directions confused me and I got lost.

2 : to fail to tell apart Teachers always confused the twins.

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Comments on confuse

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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