flum·​mox | \ ˈflə-məks How to pronounce flummox (audio) , -miks\
flummoxed; flummoxing; flummoxes

Definition of flummox

transitive verb

: confuse He was flummoxed by the legal jargon. a happy innocent who had been flummoxed by wily city slickers— Andy Logan

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Did You Know?

No one is completely sure where the word flummox comes from, but we do know that its first known use is found in Charles Dickens' 1837 novel The Pickwick Papers and that it had become quite common in both British and American English by the end of the 19th century. One theory expressed by some etymologists is that it was influenced by "flummock," a word of English dialectical origin used to refer to a clumsy person. This "flummock" may also be the source of the word lummox, which also means "a clumsy person."

Examples of flummox in a Sentence

an actor who's easily flummoxed by any changes in the script

Recent Examples on the Web

Shinnecock Hills’ small greens, dense rough and all that wind have flummoxed the world’s best all day. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "Bryson DeChambeau, the Game’s Ultimate Tactician, Tested in Opening Round at Shinnecock," 14 June 2018 Now that Frontier Airlines has introduced tipping for flight attendants, the public is really flummoxed. Joe Queenan, WSJ, "A Few Rules for a World of Tipping Just About Everyone," 14 Feb. 2019 Especially after the second inning, when the Tigers' young right-hander amped up the bite on his breaking ball and flummoxed the Rangers the next five innings. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers bet on Michael Fulmer can pay off in ace or prospects," 9 July 2018 And, the fact that a high-profile, high-stakes summit between the commanders in chief of the world's two biggest nuclear powers could be held without a solid achievement or failure to point to has flummoxed many. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "What did Trump and Putin talk about? Only they know," 20 July 2018 Trump’s executive order calling for DHS to detain parents and children together could end up being flummoxed by the courts, which have previously frowned on institutionalizing children when their parents break the law. Toluse Olorunnipa, Bloomberg.com, "Trump's Order on Family Separation: What It Does and Doesn't Do," 21 June 2018 The Astros, even with a potent lineup that catalyzed a 102-win season, had been absolutely flummoxed all day, uncertain as to how they were supposed to touch this baby-faced Texan. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Kerry Wood and ‘the greatest game ever pitched’: The oral history of May 6, 1998 at Wrigley Field," 1 May 2018 In 1965, Warhol flummoxed television host Merv Griffin by appearing on his talk show and not talking. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Warhol Takes New York, Again," 26 Oct. 2018 The Mariners, meanwhile, were flummoxed by Rogers through three innings, getting just one hit. Scott Hanson, The Seattle Times, "Unsung Erasmo Ramirez and Cameron Maybin get job done for Mariners in 2-1 victory," 3 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flummox.' 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 flummox

1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flummox

origin unknown

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Statistics for flummox

Last Updated

30 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for flummox

The first known use of flummox was in 1836

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More from Merriam-Webster on flummox

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with flummox

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for flummox

Spanish Central: Translation of flummox

Comments on flummox

What made you want to look up flummox? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

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