puz·​zling | \ˈpə-zə-liŋ, ˈpəz-liŋ\

Definition of puzzling 

: difficult to understand or solve puzzling symptoms

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Other Words from puzzling

puzzlingly adverb

Examples of puzzling in a Sentence

The directions are somewhat puzzling.

Recent Examples on the Web

This slowdown in price inflation is, itself, somewhat puzzling. Jason Furman, Vox, "The real reason you’re not getting a pay raise," 11 Aug. 2018 What is most puzzling is that even at a time when black hairstyles like cornrows or Bantu knots are gaining popularity in the mainstream, many hairstylists are lost trying to execute those styles on black hair. Allure, "Goodbye to "Good Hair": Six People Open Up to Allure About the Beauty and Diversity of Black Hair," 8 Aug. 2018 Danielle Ohl, the paper’s local government reporter, was on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina when a puzzling message came in. New York Times, "Gunman’s Rampage Turned Quiet Newsroom Into Chaos," 29 June 2018 The second reason the move remains so puzzling: The Colts are exceptionally thin at all three linebacker spots. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Colts observations: More throws from Andrew Luck, does John Simon have a home?," 13 June 2018 Willa’s spirit answers not merely to the child but to the broader Baltimore neighborhood, a block of modest homes where life unfolds with a puzzling, beguiling interconnectedness. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, "‘Clock Dance’ Review: The Family Maker," 6 July 2018 Their run of unchallenged dominance also raises a puzzling question. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo: Still Soccer’s Supreme Leaders," 12 June 2018 Prince joined the grim fraternity of mysterious Hollywood deaths on Thursday, forever remembered not just for his musical achievements but for the puzzling questions hanging over his tragic end. Josh Hafner, USA TODAY, "11 Hollywood deaths still shrouded in mystery," 19 Apr. 2018 More puzzling is that these cities were chosen ahead of the southern city of Krasnodar or an additional venue in Moscow — both of which had privately funded stadiums that met FIFA requirements but went unused. Konstantin Ash, Washington Post, "Russia put World Cup stadiums in some surprising places. This is why.," 23 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puzzling.' 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 puzzling

circa 1659, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near puzzling

puzzle out

puzzle over






Statistics for puzzling

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for puzzling

The first known use of puzzling was circa 1659

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More Definitions for puzzling



English Language Learners Definition of puzzling

: causing or likely to cause confusion : difficult to solve or understand

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More from Merriam-Webster on puzzling

Spanish Central: Translation of puzzling

Nglish: Translation of puzzling for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puzzling for Arabic Speakers

Comments on puzzling

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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