noun non·plus \ ˌnän-ˈpləs \
|Updated on: 14 Jul 2018

Definition of nonplus

: a state of bafflement or perplexity : quandary
  • … reducing the young man to a nonplus
  • —Leigh Hunt
  • … appear to be at a nonplus
  • —George Borrow

nonplus was our Word of the Day on 05/08/2016. Hear the podcast!

Origin and Etymology of nonplus

Latin non plus no more




Definition of nonplus

nonplussed also nonplused play \ˌnän-ˈpləst\; nonplussing also nonplusing play \ˌnän-ˈplə-siŋ\
: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex
  • nonplussed by the disclosure
  • Newsweek
  • this turn of events nonplusses me
  • —J. R. Perkins

Examples of nonplus in a Sentence

  1. I was nonplussed by his openly expressed admiration of me.

Recent Examples of nonplus from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonplus.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 when just the opposite is true. If you are among the baffled, the word's history may clarify things. In Latin, non plus means "no more." In the earliest known uses, which date to 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. Within a few decades of the first known use of the noun, people began using nonplus as a verb, and today it is often used in participial form with the meaning "perplexed" (as in "Joellen's nasty remark left us utterly nonplussed").

Origin and Etymology of nonplus

Synonym Discussion of 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

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peaceful, happy, or prosperous

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