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".

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The ratio of staff to children is too low, and the environment is confusing, overly stimulating and potentially harmful to a child’s developing brain. Erica Komisar, WSJ, "The Human Cost of Sweden’s Welfare State," 11 July 2018 Richardson didn’t emerge from this scot-free, but no one is confusing any of this with being a harsh punishment. Jonathan Jones,, "Jerry Richardson's Hubris Remains Immortalized in His Statue," 10 July 2018 The press release went out when most of the media was on vacation, while its contents are confusing. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is Barnes & Noble Too Big to Fail?," 6 July 2018 The shifts are confusing to Al-Manasser, who fled in 2006 with his family to Syria and then Oman after receiving a death threat that year in the form of a bullet stuffed in an envelope that was left on his family’s front doorstep. Hamed Aleaziz, San Francisco Chronicle, "Once a haven for refugees, California sees admissions dwindle under Trump," 11 June 2018 Jordan, absolutely no one was confusing you for James Bond. Aurelie Corinthios,, "Becca Kufrin Feels 'Sick' After Finding Out Bachelorette Contestant Dated Her Friend Tia Booth," 4 June 2018 With mail-in voting for California's June 5 primary election set to begin Monday, some officials are worried that Sacramento County's move to a new voting system could be confusing to those in neighboring counties. Diana Lambert, sacbee, "Big voting changes in Sacramento, but business as usual elsewhere | The Sacramento Bee," 7 May 2018 This was confusing because my son had heard it at school, the day before. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Conroe ISD: All gun threats are taken seriously, investigated," 29 Mar. 2018 But also, just the name Dixie was confusing to people. Greg Garrison,, "A Day with Dolly: the country legend talks Dixie, #MeToo and her faith," 16 Mar. 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

18 Oct 2018

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 \
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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