head-scratching

noun
head-scratch·​ing | \ ˈhed-ˌskra-chiŋ How to pronounce head-scratching (audio) \

Definition of head-scratching

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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 MillerThis is, ahem, a very complex scientific process involving a great deal of head-scratching and thoughtful staring.— Tom Jordan also : confusion

head-scratching

adjective

Definition of head-scratching (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from head-scratching

Adjective

head–scratchingly adverb
head-scratchingly poor decisions

First Known Use of head-scratching

Noun

1832, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1827, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for head-scratching

Time Traveler

The first known use of head-scratching was in 1827

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Cite this Entry

“Head-scratching.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/head-scratching. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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