dumb·​found ˌdəm-ˈfau̇nd How to pronounce dumbfound (audio)
variants or less commonly dumfound
dumbfounded also dumfounded; dumbfounding also dumfounding; dumbfounds also dumfounds

transitive verb

: to confound (see confound sense 1) briefly and usually with astonishment
were dumbfounded at what they saw
ˌdəm-ˈfau̇n-diŋ-lē How to pronounce dumbfound (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for dumbfound

puzzle, perplex, bewilder, distract, nonplus, confound, dumbfound mean to baffle and disturb mentally.

puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve.

the persistent fever puzzled the doctor

perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision.

a behavior that perplexed her friends

bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking.

a bewildering number of possibilities

distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests.

distracted by personal problems

nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible.

the remark left us utterly nonplussed

confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement.

the tragic news confounded us all

dumbfound suggests intense but momentary confounding; often the idea of astonishment is so stressed that it becomes a near synonym of astound.

was at first too dumbfounded to reply

Examples of dumbfound in a Sentence

the surprise ending will dumbfound even the most seasoned mystery reader
Recent Examples on the Web Siri’s Guide for Newbie Farmers To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video This implausible performance dumbfounded many Americans, like Carol Foyler, who resides in Akron, Ohio. Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker, 27 June 2023 The doctors must certainly have been impressed, even dumbfounded, given their diagnosis. Joy Williams, Harper's Magazine, 14 Dec. 2022 Credit: Everett Collection Sox in Lightyear Sohn as Sox, the cat-like personal companion robot for Chris Evans' Buzz Lightyear, became the unexpected standout of this 2022 movie — which still dumbfounds Sohn a bit to this day. Nick Romano, EW.com, 16 June 2023 An American visionary, Anderson embraces his bourgeois adolescence with poetic accuracy: a boy floating forward to give help; a girl raising her hand to ask a question; a general revealing his ethnically specific history; everyone dumbfounded by an extraterrestrial’s appearance. Armond White, National Review, 16 June 2023 Photographs of Nahapetian at the film’s premiere dumbfounded a fair number of social media users, who had also mistaken the actor for a de-aged Phoenix after watching the trailer. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 26 Apr. 2023 Witnesses told The Times that spectators were dumbfounded. Rachel Uranga, Anchorage Daily News, 24 Apr. 2023 The TikTok hack that currently has people dumbfounded involves one of the most basic and useful kitchen tools—the potato peeler. Hollyanna McCollom, Better Homes & Gardens, 21 Apr. 2023 One Silicon Valley Bank employee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, was dumbfounded by how Becker publicly acknowledged the extent of the bank’s financial troubles before privately lining up the necessary financial support to ride out the storm. Mark Thompson, CNN, 14 Mar. 2023 See More

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

Word History


dumb + -found (as in confound)

First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dumbfound was in 1653

Dictionary Entries Near dumbfound

Cite this Entry

“Dumbfound.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dumbfound. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also dumfound
: to cause to become speechless with astonishment : amaze
dumbfoundingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on dumbfound

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