non·​plussed ˌnän-ˈpləst How to pronounce nonplussed (audio)
: unsure about what to say, think, or do : perplexed
She was nonplussed, but quickly collected herself, explained that the plumbing had been acting up for days, and told them to pay it no mind.Diane Ackerman
Cedric looked nonplussed. He looked from Bagman to Harry and back again as though sure he must have misheard what Bagman had said.J. K. Rowling
chiefly US : not bothered, surprised, or impressed by something
Employees took to the sidewalks, throwing T-shirts and 20 percent off coupons at the few people who passed by. Still, an H&M spokesman in New York was nonplussed by the lack of fanfare. Opening day varies, he said, from location to location. "It's only one day."Saint Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press
For all his daring down the world's steepest hills, Sasaki is remarkably laid back off the slopes and nonplussed by all the sudden interest in him.The New York Times

Note: The use of nonplussed to mean "unimpressed" is an Americanism that has become increasingly common in recent decades and now appears frequently in published writing. It apparently arose from confusion over the meaning of nonplussed in ambiguous contexts, and it continues to be widely regarded as an error.

One of the things that most vexes language purists … is when the meaning of a word changes over time. For example, it appears that the traditional sense of the word nonplussed, "bewildered and at a loss as to what to think," is slowly giving way to a new (and opposite) sense: "unfazed." Even experienced writers are using the new sense.Paul McFedries

Examples of nonplussed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And last year, the Russians demonstrated a humanoid military robot to a seemingly nonplussed Vladimir Putin. Erico Guizzoevan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum, 31 May 2016 Ramaswamy used it to leave MSNBC interviewer Andrea Mitchell silent and nonplussed during their recent broadcast encounter. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023 Baby Yesenia isn’t the first to be born in the medical center’s parking garage, Andres and Cooper noted, nonplussed. Kara Nelson, CNN, 3 Sep. 2023 The nonplussed detectives who interview Dmitry about the night of the murder seem to have wandered in from a different novel, one in which personalities are coherent, cause leads to effect, and clues build toward an answer. Jennifer Wilson, The New Yorker, 24 July 2023 Brian Szasz, stepson of passenger Hamish Harding, on the other hand, was nonplussed. Kate Lindsay, Vulture, 1 July 2023 But the urgency of that phrase is belied by his croaky, nonplussed delivery. Andre Gee, Rolling Stone, 30 June 2023 Nikola Jokić, on the other hand… …seemed almost too nonplussed for a guy who just won the title. Corbin Smith, Rolling Stone, 13 June 2023 Within moments, Lovullo was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza and was engaged in what looked like a tense debate with Realmuto, who seemed almost nonplussed by Lovullo’s stance. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 12 June 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonplussed was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near nonplussed

Cite this Entry

“Nonplussed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

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