flum·​mox | \ˈflə-məks, -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

The dual nominations and a lack of clarity from the White House have left lawmakers flummoxed about how to proceed, said a Senate aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of Jackson’s unusual circumstances. Andrew Degrandpre, BostonGlobe.com, "Ronny Jackson, Trump’s pick for Veterans Affairs, may pass up $1 million to join the Cabinet," 8 Apr. 2018 Grammarly could help me spell even the words that regularly flummoxed MS Word and Google. Lisa Wood Shapiro, WIRED, "The End of Dyslexia," 18 June 2018 And he's alleged that the trade system with Canada causes a security threat to the US, which flummoxed Trudeau. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "North America feels divided on everything but the World Cup," 13 June 2018 Zoltan Stieber sent a bender that nicked the head of Yamil Asad on its way around the wall, flummoxing Turner who could do nothing but watch as the ball was redirected past his gaze and into the back of the net. Owen Pence, BostonGlobe.com, "Revolution hold off D.C. United," 1 July 2018 Takes On a New Message Involving Bears and Yogurt The Chrysler ad wasn’t the only ad of 2014’s Super Bowl to flummox Dylan fans: A similarly Dylan-approved ad for Chobani Greek yogurt appeared during the same game. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "Bob Dylan's Whiskey & 6 Other Times He Entered the Marketplace," 30 Apr. 2018 But Shinnecock, which hosted the tournament for the fifth time, has been known to flummox the world’s best golfers, as the late part of Saturday’s round demonstrated. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Brooks Koepka Repeats as the U.S. Open Champion," 17 June 2018 On Tuesday, Lewis said he's been flummoxed by the level of debate in the Jefferson County community about local control. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "JCPS dumped $15M preschool grant before the feds could take it away," 5 June 2018 The Trumpian style has flummoxed political opponents. Dan Balz, Washington Post, "Biden vs. Trump: How low can you go?," 22 Mar. 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

29 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for flummox

The first known use of flummox was in 1836

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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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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