confuse

verb

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

transitive verb

1
: to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off
The directions she gave confused us.
2
a
: 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
3
: to make embarrassed : abash
4
archaic : to bring to ruin
confusingly adverb

Example Sentences

The general was trying to confuse the enemy. The new evidence only confused matters further. You must be confusing me with someone else.
Recent Examples on the Web One theory being floated is that Russia most likely used the dud missile as a decoy, to confuse Ukrainian air defenses and increase the likelihood of one of the conventional missiles reaching their target, Ignat said. Liz Sly, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2022 That creates a big opportunity for those looking to confuse or mislead voters. David Klepper, ajc, 8 Nov. 2022 That creates a big opportunity for those looking to confuse or mislead voters. David Klepper, Fortune, 8 Nov. 2022 Dalié Jiménez, a professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law, said that the plan’s temporary halt may confuse some borrowers and dissuade them from submitting an application. Julia Carpenter, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2022 Dench wasn’t as harsh in her criticism of The Crown but stressed the importance of adding a disclaimer if only to not confuse viewers in the U.K. and worldwide. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, 20 Oct. 2022 Serious crafters are going to need temperature control and other bells and whistles that may just confuse and even impede beginners. Kathleen Willcox, Popular Mechanics, 26 Sep. 2022 Specialized jargon crafted to confuse and bamboozle is lingua franca aboard, with halyards, sheets, and vanes slithering into a stupefying knot inside a novice’s skull. Luther Ray Abel, National Review, 28 Aug. 2022 For years, Facebook and Twitter have pledged to fight falsehoods that could confuse users about America’s electoral system by tagging questionable posts with accurate information about voting and removing rule-breaking misinformation. Hayden Godfrey, Washington Post, 6 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

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

Dictionary Entries Near confuse

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confuse. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

confuse

verb

con·​fuse kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio)
confused; confusing
1
a
: to make mentally foggy or uncertain : perplex
the complicated problem confused us
b
: to cause to be embarrassed or upset : disconcert
2
: to make unclear : blur
stop confusing the issue
3
: to make disordered : jumble
his motives were hopelessly confused
4
: to fail to tell apart
teachers always confused the twins
confusedly
-ˈfyüz(-ə)d-lē
adverb
confusingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on confuse

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