1

head-scratching

noun head-scratch·ing \ ˈhed-ˌskra-chiŋ \

Definition of head-scratching

informal
: the act or activity of scratching one's head while pondering or puzzling over something difficult to understand used figuratively
  • Every year, around the middle of October, the finalists for the National Book Awards are announced to general bafflement. Specifically, it's the fiction shortlist that provokes head-scratching.
  • —Laura Miller
  • This is, ahem, a very complex scientific process involving a great deal of head-scratching and thoughtful staring.
  • —Tom Jordan
; also : confusion

First Known Use of head-scratching

1832

in the meaning defined above

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2

head-scratching

adjective

Definition of head-scratching

informal
: difficult to understand : causing puzzlement or confusion
  • … the system can lead to head-scratching results …
  • —Mark Bechtel
  • … we'll be revisiting some of the best, worst, and most head-scratching moments from our archives.
  • —Doug Brod

head–scratchingly

adverb
    • head-scratchingly poor decisions

First Known Use of head-scratching

1827

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

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