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

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 Neurological researchers and law enforcement investigators have been flummoxed by the Havana cases. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Is junk science adding to the mystery of the Havana embassy attacks?," 12 June 2018 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

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

8 Jan 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

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