Synonym Chooser

How does the verb bewilder differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of bewilder are confound, distract, dumbfound, nonplus, perplex, and puzzle. While all these words mean "to baffle and disturb mentally," bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking.

a bewildering number of possibilities

Where would confound be a reasonable alternative to bewilder?

The meanings of confound and bewilder largely overlap; however, confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement.

the tragic news confounded us all

When would distract be a good substitute for bewilder?

In some situations, the words distract and bewilder are roughly equivalent. However, distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests.

distracted by personal problems

When might dumbfound be a better fit than bewilder?

While the synonyms dumbfound and bewilder are close in meaning, 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

When is it sensible to use nonplus instead of bewilder?

Although the words nonplus and bewilder have much in common, nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible.

the remark left us utterly nonplussed

When can perplex be used instead of bewilder?

The synonyms perplex and bewilder are sometimes interchangeable, but perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision.

a behavior that perplexed her friends

In what contexts can puzzle take the place of bewilder?

The words puzzle and bewilder can be used in similar contexts, but puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve.

the persistent fever puzzled the doctor

Thesaurus Entries Near bewilder

Cite this Entry

“Bewilder.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/bewilder. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

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