con·​fuse | \ kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio) \
confused; confusing

Definition of confuse

transitive verb

1 : to disturb in mind or purpose : throw off The directions she gave confused us.
2a : to make indistinct : blur Stop confusing the issue.
b : to fail to differentiate from an often similar or related other confuse money with comfort Do not confuse the words "flaunt" and "flout".
c : to mix indiscriminately : jumble Their arms, legs, and bodies were confused together, till they resembled … two serpents interlaced.— Thomas Medwin
3 : to make embarrassed : abash
4 archaic : to bring to ruin

Other Words from confuse

confusingly \ kən-​ˈfyü-​ziŋ-​lē How to pronounce confuse (audio) \ adverb

Examples of confuse in a Sentence

The general was trying to confuse the enemy. The new evidence only confused matters further. You must be confusing me with someone else.
Recent Examples on the Web Shareholder capitalism advocates think goals other than profit will confuse investors. Charles Conn, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 Credit to the Auburn student section in the end zone for making lots of noise to help confuse the Spartan offense. al, 10 Sep. 2022 Read and recognize Much of the talk going into the game concerned how Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles would attack and confuse Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 7 Sep. 2022 Presenting such evidence could also confuse jurors, Bader said. Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2022 Not recognizing this shade difference may be why some doctors confuse psoriasis with everyday skin irritation, eczema, a drug reaction, or even an infection in people of color, says Dr. Robinson. Adele Jackson-gibson, SELF, 29 Aug. 2022 The Sun defense aimed to disrupt and confuse the Sky, forcing them into sloppy giveaways and shot-clock violations early in the first quarter. Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune, 28 Aug. 2022 Many confuse the official White House portraits with the ones commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, which were unveiled in 2018; Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama, Amy Sherald painted Michelle Obama. Robin Pogrebin,, 7 Sep. 2022 Some people confuse mission statements with values. Aaron Agius, Forbes, 19 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of confuse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for confuse

Middle English confusen, back-formation from confused "frustrated, ruined," participle based on Anglo-French confus, borrowed from Latin confūsus, past participle of confundere "to pour together, blend, bring into disorder, destroy, disconcert" — more at confound

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

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Confuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for confuse


con·​fuse | \ kən-ˈfyüz How to pronounce confuse (audio) \
confused; confusing

Kids Definition of confuse

1 : to make uncertain or unable to understand : perplex The directions confused me and I got lost.
2 : to fail to tell apart Teachers always confused the twins.

More from Merriam-Webster on confuse

Nglish: Translation of confuse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of confuse for Arabic Speakers


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