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

Yeeling seems flummoxed by some of the vagaries of South Florida hospitality life. Michael Mayo, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: Asian trio on Las Olas — Etaru, Red Door and Sushi Shack," 29 Aug. 2019 Any American caught in that situation would have been flummoxed, then mortified, then angry. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Who Is Boris Johnson?," 19 July 2019 And with Vondrousova on the stretch in the second set against Barty, one crosscourt slice from well beyond the baseline flummoxed the left-hander for a clean winner. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Ashleigh Barty beats Marketa Vondrousova to win French Open," 8 June 2019 But many appeared as flummoxed by the debate as Darden. Paul Egan, USA TODAY, "Is Michigan really in the Midwest? State’s location called into question after Dem debate," 31 July 2019 But the brash Brexit champion faces the same problems that flummoxed Theresa May during her three years in office: heading a government without a parliamentary majority and with most lawmakers opposed to leaving the EU without a divorce deal. Danica Kirka, chicagotribune.com, "Boris Johnson becomes British prime minister, derides the Brexit 'doubters, doomsters, gloomsters’," 24 July 2019 For the past decade, locals have been mildly flummoxed about the massive surge of people to their home, with its population of fewer than 8,000 and somewhat remote locale. Rebecca Jennings, Vox, "Everyone wants to Instagram the world’s most beautiful canyon. Should they?," 11 July 2019 Everybody’s totally flummoxed, nobody has a handle on what happened. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Sandra Bernhard talks ‘Pose,’ her new cabaret show and dreaming about Prince," 20 June 2019 The problem has flummoxed an agency, dominated by engineers who specialize in infrastructure, that now has to provide social services. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "BART’s end of the line surges with homeless as misery plays out each night," 22 June 2019

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

3 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for flummox

The first known use of flummox was in 1836

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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 from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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