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

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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

The company’s terse tweeted responses to impassioned pleas from its creators have left everyone mystified about what, if anything, the company stands for, aside from minimizing bad press. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Three ways YouTube could fight harassment," 6 June 2019 High mortality among young dolphins also continues to mystify scientists. Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic, "Cambodia’s endangered river dolphins at highest population in 20 years," 5 Apr. 2019 In the years before the Second World War, Americans were mystified as to how Germany, one of the most sophisticated nations in Europe, had tumbled down the dark hole of National Socialism. Fred Turner, Harper's magazine, "Machine Politics," 10 Jan. 2019 LaMassa, an astronomer now at the Space Telescope Science Institute, was mystified. Quanta Magazine, "Galactic Beacons Get Snuffed Out in a Cosmic Eyeblink," 21 Nov. 2018 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

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.

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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.

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Dictionary Entries near mystify

mystificator

mystificatory

mystifiedly

mystify

mystique

myth

mythi

Statistics for mystify

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mystify

The first known use of mystify was in 1814

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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.

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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

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