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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Tim Melville, the soft-tossing right-hander who flummoxed Arizona and Atlanta in his first two starts in a Rockies uniform, didn’t fool the Pirates one bit Saturday night. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies fall to Pirates and the facts tell the story of a struggling baseball team," 31 Aug. 2019 His arm describes a wide arc meant to encompass today’s galaxy of panelists, pundits, vulturous rivals, flummoxed general managers, hoops bloggers: the whole whispery, shouty basketball-industrial complex. SI.com, "The King Maker: Why Rich Paul Will Own the NBA Summer," 12 June 2019 The same wild-eyed action that confused Rodriguez on Tuesday, flummoxed Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma who was prepared to make a backhand play, only to see the ball kick to his left and into the outfield. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Cardinals’ ‘Twilight Zone’ single baffles Giants; payback for Pence?," 4 Sep. 2019 But the grass of southwest London conversely flummoxed twice grand slam winner Naomi Osaka and upcoming men's stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Coco Gauff, 15, beats Venus Williams at Wimbledon and declares: I want to be the greatest," 2 July 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of flummox

1836, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for flummox

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about flummox

Listen to Our Podcast about flummox

Dictionary Entries near flummox








Statistics for flummox

Last Updated

15 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for flummox

The first known use of flummox was in 1836

See more words from the same year

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).


a bell tower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!