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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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 bond between Alice and the spiky, decidedly unliterary Felix might flummox. New York Times, 1 Sep. 2021 But none of them compare to saving young lives the way Mr. Jackson could easily do by demonstrating that the vaccine is safe and effective and not some difficult choice that should flummox a healthy adult. Allana Haynes, baltimoresun.com, 11 Aug. 2021 With no offensive lineman worthy of this slot, the Chargers can instead score tremendous value in Pitts, a supersized target who can flummox defenses with his speed and keep Herbert's development on track even if Hunter Henry goes elsewhere. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 5 Jan. 2021 Disabling IR21a, however, isn’t enough to completely flummox a hungry bloodsucker. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Feb. 2020 Error 0: The Heat tried creative ways to flummox Boston’s offense, extensively using a kind of 1-3-1 matchup zone in which its longer, athletic players roamed the perimeter. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, 29 Jan. 2020 Somehow, the Terps have to come out in attack mode, possibly by starting games with their press or their zone, both of which has seemed to flummox most of their opponents this season. Don Markus, baltimoresun.com, 22 Nov. 2019 Flu or not Nationwide, at least as early as January, patients like McMahon were flummoxing their doctors, arriving in clinics and hospitals with flu-like symptoms but testing negative for influenza. Jayme Fraser, USA TODAY, 23 May 2020 As the second round of PPP loans began going out to small businesses last week, lenders said the program again was plagued with technical glitches and rules that flummoxed bankers and business owners alike. Diego Mendoza-moyers, ExpressNews.com, 3 May 2020

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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The first known use of flummox was in 1836

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flummox.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flummox. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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