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 confuse (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 Only a very inattentive friend could confuse this set with sweats. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, "Want a Chic Sweatpants Alternative? Try Retro Knit Sets," 24 Apr. 2021 Those many, many migrating birds use the moon and stars to navigate during their nighttime flights, so light from buildings, especially in urban areas, can confuse them. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, "Austin Businesses Are Turning Off Lights to Help Migrating Birds," 14 Apr. 2021 Readers sometimes confuse the topic of a show with the way it has been made., "On matters of misogyny, can you trust a male TV critic’s opinion?," 12 Apr. 2021 Helm, Davis and potentially Sanders could confuse the pecking order depending on how the next several months play out. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas TE Cade Brewer hoping to make the most of fifth year," 9 Apr. 2021 Not to confuse the matter further, but this latest, third round of stimulus payments is not addressed on your 2020 income tax returns. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "If you received stimulus payments, here’s why your tax refund might take longer," 8 Apr. 2021 Not to confuse the matter further, but this latest, third round of stimulus payments is not addressed on your 2020 income tax returns. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "You might get a letter from IRS about a mistake on your tax return," 6 Apr. 2021 In recent months, there has been a huge tendency on the part of the media, social and news, to confuse ‘evidence’ with ‘proof’. Michael Lynch, Forbes, "Enthusiasm For Electric Vehicles Appears Excessive," 5 Mar. 2021 But these indictments confuse the concept of capitalism with its implementation. Michele Zanini, Fortune, "The biggest problem with capitalism? Not enough capitalists," 21 Nov. 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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Learn More about confuse

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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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Comments on confuse

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