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

Yes, the decisive goal came off a truly strange play, in which the fourth official allowed Mbaye Niang to re-enter the game and run onto a pass before splitting the Polish defenders who were confused about his presence on the field. Grant Wahl,, "Russia Continues to Surprise, While Japan, Senegal Earn Landmark World Cup Wins," 19 June 2018 Others were confused about what nurses actually do. Carole R. Myers, STAT, "Nurses play vital roles in health care. Why are they invisible in the media?," 13 June 2018 The lead attorney for the Choke Canyon, told jurors that Buc-ee’s presented no evidence that shoppers were confused about which chain was which. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Buc-ee’s wins federal court trademark fight against competitor Choke Canyon," 22 May 2018 Apple confused everyone this fall by introducing three new models: the iPhone XS (large), the iPhone XR (larger) and the iPhone XS Max (largest). Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "IPhone XR: The best $250 you ever saved on a new phone," 23 Oct. 2018 The airdrop itself could be confused with being gentle. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 The therapist, Ford said, had confused the number of people involved in the alleged attack with the total number of people in the house. Gregg Re, Fox News, "California professor Christine Ford claims Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her: 'It derailed me'," 16 Sep. 2018 This is confusing, of course, since Will was not anywhere near England when this meeting happened. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince William Claims to Remember a Wedding He Was Famously Not at and People Are Confused," 19 Aug. 2018 At first glance, Kardashian West's wig could easily be confused with one of her beloved platinum ones. Andrea Park, Allure, "Kim Kardashian West Debuted a Long, Neon-Green Wig While Partying in Miami," 17 Aug. 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

8 Mar 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with confuse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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