Definition of nonplus
- … reducing the young man to a nonplus …
- —Leigh Hunt
- … appear to be at a nonplus …
- —George Borrow
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First Known Use: 1582See Words from the same year
I was nonplussed by his openly expressed admiration of me.
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.
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").
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