confuse

verb

con·​fuse kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio)
confused; confusing

transitive verb

1
: to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off
The directions she gave confused us.
2
a
: 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
3
: to make embarrassed : abash
4
archaic : to bring to ruin
confusingly 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Poe suggested McGee may have confused press accounts for the defendant’s statements. Emerson Clarridge, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 18 Apr. 2024 The Biden campaign's rapid response team has promoted videos on its X account of the former president confusing Nancy Pelosi with Nikki Haley and has repeatedly noted the two candidates are separated by just four years in age. The Courier-Journal, 17 Apr. 2024 Zendaya looked good, but the look has inspired lots of discussion online, with some people confused at the much-underreported idea that underwear might also be considered outerwear. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 17 Apr. 2024 And there’s an irony if companies that want to stand out with black-and-white logos instead make people confused about which app is which, said Marcie Cooperman, a color theory expert at the New School’s Parsons School of Design. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2024 Called Jack Ranch — not to be confused with the ranch near Cholame owned by the Hearst Corp. — the property at 5502 Los Ranchos Road in San Luis Obispo sprawls across 281 acres, with more than half safeguarded by a perimeter deer fence. David Caraccio, Sacramento Bee, 15 Apr. 2024 San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine said a name change has the potential to confuse travelers and hurt businesses that have products delivered by plane. Kristin J. Bender, The Mercury News, 14 Apr. 2024 Kimberly Collins, 50, remembers being confused by the BMI letters sent to her from the Little Rock School District stating that all her children were considered overweight, and that one daughter was classified as obese. Kavitha Cardoza, CNN, 12 Apr. 2024 Despite the involvement of the moon, a solar eclipse is not to be confused with a lunar eclipse. Reece Rogers, WIRED, 7 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'confuse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of confuse was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near confuse

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confuse. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

confuse

verb
con·​fuse kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio)
confused; confusing
1
a
: to make mentally foggy or uncertain : perplex
the complicated problem confused us
b
: to cause to be embarrassed or upset : disconcert
2
: to make unclear : blur
stop confusing the issue
3
: to make disordered : jumble
his motives were hopelessly confused
4
: to fail to tell apart
teachers always confused the twins
confusedly
-ˈfyüz(-ə)d-lē
adverb
confusingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on confuse

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