confuse

verb
con·​fuse | \ kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio) \
confused; confusing

Definition of confuse

transitive verb

1 : to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off The directions she gave confused us.
2a : to make indistinct : blur Stop confusing the issue.
b : to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other confuse money with comfort Do not confuse the words "flaunt" and "flout".
c : to mix indiscriminately : jumble Their arms, legs, and bodies were confused together, till they resembled … two serpents interlaced.— Thomas Medwin
3a : to make embarrassed : abash
4 archaic : to bring to ruin

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Other Words from confuse

confusingly \ kən-​ˈfyü-​ziŋ-​lē How to pronounce confuse (audio) \ 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 title, a term used in countless news headlines, referred to the widespread fear that the beginning of the year 2000 would confuse computer calendars to the extent that planes would fall out of the sky. New York Times, "Arthur Kopit, Whose ‘Oh Dad’ Shook Up the Theater, Dies at 83," 3 Apr. 2021 The title, a term used in countless news headlines, referred to the widespread fear that the beginning of the year 2000 would confuse computer calendars to the extent that planes would fall out of the sky. BostonGlobe.com, "Arthur Kopit dies at 83; playwright was a Tony nominee, Pulitzer finalist," 3 Apr. 2021 Each state has its own specific criteria as to who can be vaccinated, which can confuse the public. Jocelyn Silver, WSJ, "Should You Post That Covid-Vaccine Selfie? An Etiquette Guide for the Vaccinated," 26 Mar. 2021 To reach its contrary judgment, the majority must conflate a seizure with its attempt and confuse an arrest with a battery. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, "Supreme Court says police shootings are momentary 'seizures" under 4th Amendment," 25 Mar. 2021 This would tamp down fly-by-night electricity sellers who use phone calls and door-to-door visits to confuse and sign up new customers. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "Ousted Public Utility Commission chairman admits he favors helping investors, not the public," 18 Mar. 2021 Individuals, however, are more likely to lose or confuse customers and clients by switching up their personal brands. Zaheer Dodhia, Forbes, "Why A Personal Brand Logo Should Be Timeless," 9 Mar. 2021 Molly Sauer, a research associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said a lack of continuity and consistent messaging from various levels of government can confuse residents who don’t know where to go for primary sources. Karen Brooks Harper And Marissa Martinez, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas launches multimillion dollar campaign to combat vaccine hesitancy," 16 Feb. 2021 Trump has used his massive Twitter presence to downplay fears of Covid-19 and confuse public understanding since the virus's earliest days, at a time when an organized response might have saved thousands of lives. Wired Staff, Wired, "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet in 2020," 30 Dec. 2020

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 4

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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Learn More about confuse

Time Traveler for confuse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for confuse

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confuse. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for confuse

confuse

verb

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

confuse

verb
con·​fuse | \ kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio) \
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

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