puz·​zle·​ment | \ ˈpə-zəl-mənt How to pronounce puzzlement (audio) \

Definition of puzzlement

1 : the state of being puzzled : perplexity
2 : puzzle

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of puzzlement in a Sentence

The cause of the accident has been a source of puzzlement. The explanation only increased their puzzlement.
Recent Examples on the Web That's clearly the case with the Tesla Cybertruck, whose triangular design, stainless steel body and unconventional truck bed inspired a chorus of laughter, praise and puzzlement. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Most polarizing vehicles of the century: Tesla Cybertruck just joined the list," 24 Nov. 2019 Herbert wasn’t alone in his puzzlement over this mysterious and little-studied group of cells that keep turning up in unexpected places, from the thymus (a small gland in the chest where pathogen-fighting T cells mature) to the pancreas. Quanta Magazine, "Cells That ‘Taste’ Danger Set Off Immune Responses," 15 Nov. 2019 As in that tirade against Douglass, Harriet adds #MeToo feminism to Tubman’s puzzlement about her mission in life. Armond White, National Review, "Harriet: A ‘Slave Land’ Thrill Ride," 6 Nov. 2019 When it was announced this year that break dancing would be added to the program for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris — a development that produced predictable snark and puzzlement in some quarters — Bumblebee suddenly had a new life goal. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "A Russian B-Boy Dreams of Gold," 19 Aug. 2019 Passersby and diners in nearby cafes looked on, some in puzzlement, some offering support. Washington Post, "Amazon fires: French activists urge more Brazil action," 31 Aug. 2019 At that point, I had been moved to a private hospital, and my journal was full of puzzlement about what had happened. New York Times, "Waiting for the Monsoon, Discovering a Brain Tumor Instead," 31 Aug. 2019 The question usually comes with a slightly horrified look, or with genuine puzzlement. David Mckenzie, CNN, "Xenophobia has reared its ugly head in the Rainbow Nation. African nations have had enough," 7 Sep. 2019 The lack of engagement by Johnson’s team on the core issues has led to puzzlement about his strategy. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "Boris Johnson’s statements about the state of Brexit negotiations bear little relationship to reality, E.U. officials say," 6 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of puzzlement

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puzzlement

Time Traveler for puzzlement

Time Traveler

The first known use of puzzlement was in 1731

See more words from the same year

Statistics for puzzlement

Last Updated

22 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Puzzlement.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puzzlement. Accessed 17 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for puzzlement


How to pronounce puzzlement (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of puzzlement

: a feeling of being confused because something is difficult to understand
chiefly US : something that is difficult to understand


puz·​zle·​ment | \ ˈpə-zəl-mənt How to pronounce puzzlement (audio) \

Kids Definition of puzzlement

: the state of being perplexed She had a look of puzzlement on her face.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on puzzlement

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puzzlement

Spanish Central: Translation of puzzlement

Nglish: Translation of puzzlement for Spanish Speakers

Comments on puzzlement

What made you want to look up puzzlement? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!