mystify

verb
mys·​ti·​fy | \ ˈmi-stə-ˌfī How to pronounce mystify (audio) \
mystified; mystifying

Definition of mystify

transitive verb

1 : to perplex the mind of : bewilder
2 : to make mysterious or obscure mystify an interpretation of a prophecy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from mystify

mystifier \ ˈmi-​stə-​ˌfī(-​ə)r How to pronounce mystifier (audio) \ noun
mystifyingly \ ˈmi-​stə-​ˌfī-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce mystifyingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of mystify in a Sentence

The cause of the disease mystified doctors for many years. The magician has been mystifying his audiences for years with his amazing tricks.

Recent Examples on the Web

But dubious success aside, Brooks’ accent and whole manner is mystifying during this date. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "A Ranking of All the Dates in Noah Centineo's "The Perfect Date"," 12 Apr. 2019 Republican strategists were also mystified by Schultz's comments. Jeff Stein, chicagotribune.com, "Howard Schultz ignoring 2016's lessons, say Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton alumni," 6 June 2018 In a company long ruled by a rigid operational structure, Mr. Hackett’s cerebral, free-flowing management style has won some fans and mystified others. Christina Rogers, WSJ, "Ford’s New CEO Has a Cerebral Style—and to Many, It’s Baffling," 14 Aug. 2018 But Russia's players defended, fought and grew their legend in front of a grateful home crowd, turning in the most unexpected result of a tournament that continues to mystify. Brian Straus, SI.com, "Dogged Russia Continues World Cup Run, Brings Spain's Celebrated Era to an End," 1 July 2018 The idea that anyone would dive in and get their hands tattooed first mystifies him a bit. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Are Hand Tattoos No Longer Taboo? Depends On Your Job," 1 Oct. 2018 That is why Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s announcement Sunday that banks had plenty of liquidity mystified and worried market participants. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Trump’s Volatility Only Adds to Stock-Market Selling Pressure," 26 Dec. 2018 On Wednesday, several justices appeared mystified by that Indiana opinion; and the state solicitor general, Thomas Fisher, spent little time defending it. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Poised to Rule Against Excessive State Fines," 28 Nov. 2018 All the remotes mystify even the people who set the systems up. Alison Sider, WSJ, "Hey, Mom, Why Do You Have Five TV Remotes?," 26 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mystify.' 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 mystify

1814, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mystify

borrowed from French mystifier "to hoodwink, dupe," from Greek mýstēs "person initiated (into a religious cult)" + French -ifier -ify — more at mystic entry 1

Note: French mystifier was used by 18th-century literati in the context of elaborate practical jokes in which some pseudo-magical procedure would be performed on the subject of the joke as a sort of mock initiation. Such a joke is described by the playwright Charles-Simon Favart (1710-92) in a letter of June 24, 1760, apparently the earliest known occurrence of the verb: one Poinsinet is persuaded that the application of a magic ointment has made him invisible and he then becomes the butt of various jests. According to Favart, Poinsinet was dubbed le mystifié (presumably, "one made an inititate") as a result of the jests, which he refers to collectively as la mystification. (See Mémoires et correspondances littéraires, dramatiques et anecdotiques de C.S. Favart, tome 1, Paris, 1808, p. 50-52.) The meaning of the English word has been influenced by mystery entry 1, mystical, etc.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mystify

Dictionary Entries near mystify

mystificator

mystificatory

mystifiedly

mystify

mystique

myth

mythi

Statistics for mystify

Last Updated

17 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mystify

The first known use of mystify was in 1814

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mystify

mystify

verb

English Language Learners Definition of mystify

: to confuse (someone) completely

mystify

verb
mys·​ti·​fy | \ ˈmi-stə-ˌfī How to pronounce mystify (audio) \
mystified; mystifying

Kids Definition of mystify

: to confuse or bewilder completely His strange behavior has mystified us.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mystify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mystify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mystify

Spanish Central: Translation of mystify

Nglish: Translation of mystify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mystify for Arabic Speakers

Comments on mystify

What made you want to look up mystify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a device or gadget

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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