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non·​plus ˌnän-ˈpləs How to pronounce nonplus (audio)
: a state of bafflement or perplexity : quandary
… reducing the young man to a nonplusLeigh Hunt
… appear to be at a nonplusGeorge Borrow


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nonplussed also nonplused ˌnän-ˈpləst How to pronounce nonplus (audio) ; nonplussing also nonplusing ˌnän-ˈplə-siŋ How to pronounce nonplus (audio)

transitive verb

: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex
nonplussed by the disclosureNewsweek
this turn of events nonplusses meJ. R. Perkins

Did you know?

Don't Let Nonplus Perplex You

Does nonplus perplex you? You aren't alone. Some people believe the non in nonplus means "not," and assume that to be nonplussed is to be calm and poised, but in fact the opposite is true. If you are among the baffled, the word's history may clarify things. In Latin, non plus means "no more." When nonplus debuted in English in the 16th century, it was used as a noun synonymous with quandary. Someone brought to a nonplus had reached an impasse in an argument and could say no more. In short time, people began applying nonplus as a verb, and today it is often used in participial form with the meaning "perplexed" (as in "Joellen's strange remark left us utterly nonplussed").

Choose the Right Synonym for nonplus

puzzle, perplex, bewilder, distract, nonplus, confound, dumbfound mean to baffle and disturb mentally.

puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve.

the persistent fever puzzled the doctor

perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision.

a behavior that perplexed her friends

bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking.

a bewildering number of possibilities

distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests.

distracted by personal problems

nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible.

the remark left us utterly nonplussed

confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement.

the tragic news confounded us all

dumbfound suggests intense but momentary confounding; often the idea of astonishment is so stressed that it becomes a near synonym of astound.

was at first too dumbfounded to reply

Examples of nonplus in a Sentence

Verb I was nonplussed by his openly expressed admiration of me.
Recent Examples on the Web
Not only was former SPIN cover star LP nonplussed by it, but the artist also managed to draw Friday afternoon’s biggest audience. Spin Staff, SPIN, 8 May 2023 Ecker was nonplused when asked how her husband’s shoelessness has limited their life. Katherine Rosman,, 1 Mar. 2023 Industry experts were nonplussed that the government chose a company that plans weddings and corporate parties over experienced food distributors that submitted bids. Tom Orsborn,, 14 May 2020 She also was nonplussed by the questionnaire distributed during the flight, which had asked questions about travel to Wuhan, the virus’ epicenter. Lauren Caruba,, 18 Feb. 2020 And its performer was no doubt slightly nonplussed, too; Having previously claimed the track could elevate Rita Ora's career to new heights, Warren then called out the British singer for failing to promote it. 8. Jon O'Brien, Billboard, 7 Feb. 2020 Grijalva was nonplussed about the efforts against Sinema, who, like McSally, was in Washington, D.C., for Trump's Senate impeachment trial. Katie Surma, azcentral, 25 Jan. 2020 Gayle has yet to feature for Newcastle this season having picked up a calf injury in pre-season, with manager Steve Bruce concerned after specialists seemed nonplussed when attempting to determine the root cause of the problem., 20 Sep. 2019 There is nothing wrong with this gentleman or anyone else who is nonplussed by a book that has been widely hailed by the critical establishment. John Warner,, 26 Nov. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nonplus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Latin non plus no more

First Known Use


1582, in the meaning defined above


1591, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonplus was in 1582


Dictionary Entries Near nonplus

Cite this Entry

“Nonplus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


nonplussed also nonplused; nonplussing also nonplusing
: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex

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