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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Don't confuse this with cassava flour, which is more fibrous and made using the whole root. Antara Sinha, Bon Appétit, 13 June 2022 Although people-pleasers may confuse or justify their behavior as altruism, experts emphasize that there is a difference. Allyson Chiu, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 But the move also would confuse customers, lessen demand for standard models and wreck their resale value just like the Lighting port did to older iPhones using the Dock Connector when it was introduced with the iPhone 5 in 2012. Gordon Kelly, Forbes, 11 June 2022 Irma Vep, perhaps the most meta show currently on TV, has the kind of high-concept premise that would confuse even its own characters. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 9 June 2022 On the other hand, having people confuse the Pixel 7 Pro prototype with the Pixel 6 Pro might be good news. Chris Smith, BGR, 2 June 2022 To O’Connell, that new generation needs weekly game plans to respond to vastly different defensive structures, that response including identical personnel groupings that execute divergently to confuse and thus slow defenders. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 1 June 2022 Natural sunlight is encouraged during the day, but light from a TV monitor at night can confuse your circadian rhythm and delay relaxation and entry into the downstate repair period. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 May 2022 Mark Werksman, his defense lawyer, argued Wednesday that the witnesses would confuse the jury and serve merely to blacken his reputation. Gene Maddaus, Variety, 11 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for confuse


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on confuse

Nglish: Translation of confuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confuse for Arabic Speakers


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