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

These people question whether pilots may be confused about the exact circumstances when each automated system could kick in, and how the two may interact during certain types of emergencies. Andrew Tangel, WSJ, "Regulators Push for Clarity on Boeing 737 Safety Systems After Lion Air Crash," 21 Nov. 2018 Anal cancer can cause symptoms that can easily be confused with those of less severe conditions. Korin Miller, SELF, "‘Desperate Housewives’ Star Marcia Cross Reveals She’s in Recovery After Anal Cancer Treatment," 28 Sep. 2018 Don’t make a record with nothing that can be confused. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Kanye West addresses feud with Drake, speculation over rapper's relationship with Kim Kardashian," 21 Sep. 2018 Get our daily newsletter With the currency at a record low—27.7 to the dollar—and investors confused about the central bank’s strategy, Mauricio Macri, Argentina’s president, consulted his economic team. The Economist, "Argentina’s central-bank president resigns," 15 June 2018 Getty ImagesJohn Stillwell - PA Images Getty ImagesJohn Stillwell - PA Images Getty ImagesJohn Stillwell - PA Images She's not to be confused with Meghan's private secretary, Amy Pickerill. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "Everything We Know About Meghan Markle's New Female Bodyguard," 24 Oct. 2018 But the policies have also been confusing, and for many people, frustrating, especially in a world where misinformation can spread so quickly. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "Here’s why Facebook suspended Alex Jones but not Infowars," 28 July 2018 The distinction, not to be confused with the team’s longstanding Honor Roll, has been bestowed on luminaries since 2011, though after the fourth round of the selections — in 2014 — the team hadn’t made any additions. Steve Svekis,, "The Dolphins prepare to unveil latest Walk of Fame members | Photos," 10 July 2018 Not to be confused with No. 5, another swamp tour, this one in Louisiana. TripAdvisor's Top 10 Experiences in America 1. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Really? Hoover Dam is the 4th best travel experience in America?," 3 July 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

13 Dec 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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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

Comments on confuse

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a nest or breeding place

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