Synonym Chooser

How does the verb perplex differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of perplex are bewilder, confound, distract, dumbfound, nonplus, and puzzle. While all these words mean "to baffle and disturb mentally," perplex adds a suggestion of worry and uncertainty especially about making a necessary decision.

a behavior that perplexed her friends

In what contexts can bewilder take the place of perplex?

The words bewilder and perplex can be used in similar contexts, but bewilder stresses a confusion of mind that hampers clear and decisive thinking.

a bewildering number of possibilities

When can confound be used instead of perplex?

The synonyms confound and perplex are sometimes interchangeable, but confound implies temporary mental paralysis caused by astonishment or profound abasement.

the tragic news confounded us all

When is distract a more appropriate choice than perplex?

The meanings of distract and perplex largely overlap; however, distract implies agitation or uncertainty induced by conflicting preoccupations or interests.

distracted by personal problems

When would dumbfound be a good substitute for perplex?

While the synonyms dumbfound and perplex 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 perplex?

The words nonplus and perplex are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, nonplus implies a bafflement that makes orderly planning or deciding impossible.

the remark left us utterly nonplussed

Where would puzzle be a reasonable alternative to perplex?

Although the words puzzle and perplex have much in common, puzzle implies existence of a problem difficult to solve.

the persistent fever puzzled the doctor

Thesaurus Entries Near perplex

Cite this Entry

“Perplex.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/perplex. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

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