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 Investors may have been confused about the ebbs and flows off the concert business. Glenn Peoples, Billboard, "Live Nation Lost $1.8B in Market Capitalization in Just Three Days. Why?," 11 Nov. 2019 That there are two lists is confusing to schools and to the public. al, "Here’s a look at Alabama’s ‘failing’ public schools," 5 Nov. 2019 New England has confused young quarterbacks this season with Cover Zero tendencies in which multiple defenders blitz and the secondary plays man coverage, leaving no safeties in the back end. Daniel Oyefusi,, "Ravens’ Marquise Brown, Patrick Onwuasor return to practice for first time in three weeks; Earl Thomas sits," 30 Oct. 2019 Learn more about the holiday that’s gaining traction in the U.S.. Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is often confused as the Mexican Halloween because of its use of skeletons and when the holiday is celebrated: Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. USA Today, "The Day of the Dead: Explained in graphics," 30 Oct. 2019 The white undersides of the whales’ fins likely also confused the fish; sometimes the juveniles swam directly into the whale’s mouth, apparently mistaking it for a place of safety. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "‘Bingo!’ In a remarkable first, humpback whales spied using their fins to scoop up fish," 15 Oct. 2019 No one will confuse a struggling Arkansas team with Georgia, even after the Bulldogs were upset by South Carolina. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How getting to know their teammates helped Kentucky football players beat Arkansas," 13 Oct. 2019 These questions and more have confused many a skin-care fanatic. Allure, "11 Retinol Myths That Derms Want You to Stop Believing," 6 Oct. 2019 Also, people often confuse being sick with a bad cold or stomach flu with having influenza. Libby Richards, Quartz, "The common myth that stops people from getting their flu shot," 3 Oct. 2019

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

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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

Comments on confuse

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