perplex

verb
per·​plex | \ pər-ˈpleks How to pronounce perplex (audio) \
perplexed; perplexing; perplexes

Definition of perplex

transitive verb

1 : to make unable to grasp something clearly or to think logically and decisively about something her attitude perplexes me a perplexing problem
2 : to make intricate or involved : complicate

Choose the Right Synonym for perplex

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 perplex in a Sentence

Questions about the meaning of life have always perplexed humankind. let's not perplex the issue further with irrelevant concerns
Recent Examples on the Web No, that’s not a Zen Buddhist koan designed to perplex music fans and philosophers alike. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 July 2022 The jargon around American elections can perplex and alienate voters. Julia Mueller, USA TODAY, 1 July 2022 Ancient people would travel for hundreds of miles to reach this cultural center, which has left behind archeological mysteries that continue to perplex us more than a thousand years later. Cnn Opinion, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 Ancient people would travel for hundreds of miles to reach this cultural center, which has left behind archeological mysteries that continue to perplex us more than a thousand years later. Cnn Opinion, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 Ancient people would travel for hundreds of miles to reach this cultural center, which has left behind archeological mysteries that continue to perplex us more than a thousand years later. Cnn Opinion, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 What will likely perplex the selection committee, though, are six Quadrant 1 victories. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2022 Ancient people would travel for hundreds of miles to reach this cultural center, which has left behind archeological mysteries that continue to perplex us more than a thousand years later. Cnn Opinion, CNN, 16 Dec. 2021 The first time that Lamar Jackson saw the Dolphins defense that would perplex and punish him, ruining his Thursday night, the Ravens quarterback almost solved it. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of perplex

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for perplex

obsolete perplex, adjective, involved, perplexed, from Latin perplexus, from per- thoroughly + plexus involved, from past participle of plectere to braid, twine — more at per-, ply

Learn More About perplex

Time Traveler for perplex

Time Traveler

The first known use of perplex was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near perplex

Perpignan

perplex

perplexed

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Statistics for perplex

Last Updated

21 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perplex.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perplex. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for perplex

perplex

verb
per·​plex | \ pər-ˈpleks How to pronounce perplex (audio) \
perplexed; perplexing

Kids Definition of perplex

: to make unable to understand : confuse The math lesson perplexed me.

More from Merriam-Webster on perplex

Nglish: Translation of perplex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perplex for Arabic Speakers

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