per·​plex·​i·​ty | \ pər-ˈplek-sə-tē How to pronounce perplexity (audio) \
plural perplexities

Definition of perplexity

1 : the state of being perplexed : bewilderment
2 : something that perplexes

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Examples of perplexity in a Sentence

There was a look of perplexity on his face. He stared at her in perplexity. We will never solve all of the perplexities of life.
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Recent Examples on the Web But yielding to the idea of the Holocaust’s incomparability leads us into a thicket of moral perplexities. Peter E. Gordon, The New York Review of Books, "Why Historical Analogy Matters," 7 Jan. 2020 Koenig may have supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, but Sanders’s mollycoddling platform never approaches the real-life perplexities that Koenig — a pop poet — sings about. Armond White, National Review, "Vampire Weekend Makes the Best Pop-Political Album of the Year," 10 Dec. 2019 Florio wasn't the only person confused by the non-call and the perplexity of the NFL's pass-interference replay system. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Not pass interference: Arizona Cardinals robbed on final play vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers?," 11 Nov. 2019 This article contains spoilers through the entirety of Daniel Sloss: X. Daniel Sloss is a 29-year-old Scotsman with the kind of malleable features that allow him to pivot, disconcertingly, between modes of earnest perplexity and diabolical evil. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Daniel Sloss Shows How Comedians Should Talk About Rape," 6 Nov. 2019 After weeks of perplexity, Dr. Nielsen woke up one night with an idea. New York Times, "Wired Bacteria Form Nature’s Power Grid: ‘We Have an Electric Planet’," 1 July 2019 The 2018-19 Broadway season will be remembered for those gripping moments of simple honesty when an actor, burrowed deep in a role’s human perplexity, revealed ourselves to ourselves. Carolina A. Miranda,, "Essential Arts: Call it a comeback — MOCA’s new shows reveal an institution ascendant," 15 June 2019 And voters should pay close attention to his sweetly subtle performance, which gets richer as the season deepens Ramy’s moral perplexity. Darren Franich,, "Emmys 2019: Consider Ramy Youssef for writing, directing, and starring in Ramy," 13 June 2019 In Menderes, Javed’s request was greeted with perplexity. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019

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

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First Known Use of perplexity

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for perplexity

Middle English perplexite, from Middle French perplexité, from Late Latin perplexitat-, perplexitas, from Latin perplexus

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Time Traveler for perplexity

Time Traveler

The first known use of perplexity was in the 14th century

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Statistics for perplexity

Cite this Entry

“Perplexity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for perplexity


How to pronounce perplexity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of perplexity

: the state of being very confused because something is difficult to understand
: something that is confusing and difficult to understand


per·​plex·​i·​ty | \ pər-ˈplek-sə-tē How to pronounce perplexity (audio) \
plural perplexities

Kids Definition of perplexity

1 : a puzzled or anxious state of mind The school stared in perplexity at this incredible folly.— Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer
2 : something that puzzles

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