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 confusingly (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 When Amy Vilela’s ex-husband called her in a pre-dawn panic one June morning in 2015, yelling that their daughter had been taken away in an ambulance, Vilela was confused. Tana Ganeva, Teen Vogue, "Amy Vilela’s Fight for Medicare for All Is Personal," 18 Feb. 2020 So people were confused that at an All-Star Game which included performances by plenty of native Chicagoans (including Chaka Khan who performed a National Anthem which didn't go over well with some), Yeezy didn't take to the stage. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Kanye West attended the All-Star game but didn't perform," 17 Feb. 2020 It's also left her supporters in New Hampshire confused, unsure why their neighboring-state senator isn't doing better. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, "Women backing Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire call 'electability' concerns a 'red herring'," 11 Feb. 2020 False positives can confuse researchers, compromising its own usefulness in detecting technosignatures. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "AI Will Probably Trick Us Into Thinking We Found Aliens," 2 Feb. 2020 Political self-interest will not be confused with the national interest. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "'Lies are the truth': Biden scorches Trump in fall fight preview," 30 Jan. 2020 With this new capability, the computer would not be confused by the undulating terrain as the vehicle headed toward landing. Frank O’brien, Ars Technica, "A deep dive into the Apollo Guidance Computer, and the hack that saved Apollo 14," 30 Jan. 2020 Holik said Henry was sometimes seen aimlessly walking up and down Main Street, often looking lost and confused. Bree Burkitt, USA TODAY, "‘Harm was going to come’: Mom accused of smothering 3 kids struggled after mother's death," 23 Jan. 2020 Everyone was confused as to why Boyz II Men wore 49ers gear while singing the national anthem on Sunday. Andy Nesbitt, For The Win, "This Super Bowl 54 matchup is so darn perfect," 20 Jan. 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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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

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for confuse


How to pronounce confuse (audio)

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on confuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for confuse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confuse

Spanish Central: Translation of confuse

Nglish: Translation of confuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confuse for Arabic Speakers

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