verb per·plex \ pər-ˈpleks \
|Updated on: 18 Aug 2018

Definition of perplex

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

Examples of perplex in a Sentence

  1. Questions about the meaning of life have always perplexed humankind.

  2. let's not perplex the issue further with irrelevant concerns

Recent Examples of perplex from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

PERPLEX Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of perplex for English Language Learners

  • : to confuse (someone) very much

PERPLEX Defined for Kids


verb per·plex \ pər-ˈpleks \

Definition of perplex for Students

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

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fullness to the point of excess

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