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".

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Their youngest was adopted in 1970, across racial lines and Audrey was often unaccepting of the small-mindedness of people who were confused by their family photos., "Keith and Audrey Dubay," 12 July 2018 But the general public might be confused by such grapes. Kevin Begos, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape," 6 June 2018 In the moment, and after LeBron James’ best impression of Greek god Atlas, everyone was confused. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "In Defense of J.R. Smith, the Loneliest Man in Cleveland," 1 June 2018 The cars were also reportedly confused by tunnels, construction sites, and other tricky situations. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "As Uber and Tesla struggle with driverless cars, Waymo moves forward," 1 June 2018 Still, the logic behind arming the left is confused. Jason Christian, The New Republic, "Confessions of a Former Left-Wing Gun Nut," 29 Mar. 2018 In fact, medical professionals sometimes confuse a yellow sac spider bite for a brown recluse’s. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Brown recluse, black widow and other dangerous spiders found in the US," 10 July 2018 Age and aging are confusing to me, and therefore fascinating. Sari Botton, Longreads, "Introducing ‘Fine Lines,’ a Series About Age and Aging," 10 July 2018 And machine vision can get confused by optics, just like humans can. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Why Did the Human Cross the Road? To Confuse the Self-Driving Car," 10 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about confuse

Statistics for confuse

Last Updated

4 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for confuse

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!