perplexity

noun

per·​plex·​i·​ty pər-ˈplek-sə-tē How to pronounce perplexity (audio)
plural perplexities
1
: the state of being perplexed : bewilderment
2
: something that perplexes
3

Example Sentences

There was a look of perplexity on his face. He stared at her in perplexity. We will never solve all of the perplexities of life.
Recent Examples on the Web The legal system’s perplexity about how to regulate online content was evident from the outcome of the Gonzalez case at the 9th Circuit. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 13 Oct. 2022 The victory has made Ms. Meloni, 45, the object of widespread international perplexity and even abuse. Nicola Rossi, WSJ, 26 Sep. 2022 The élan of Woolf’s prose and the shimmer of her perceptions are shot through with perplexity and grief, yet the essay is packed with moments of breathtaking insight. Marina Warner, WSJ, 19 Aug. 2022 To avoid any park perplexity, plan ahead by checking exactly which parks are ineligible, then browse this interactive map that showcases the locations of the 200-plus participating state parks. J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 26 Apr. 2022 This air of wry perplexity turned out to be a defining Willis trait, and was central to his remarkable run of performances in the mid-to-late nineties. Adam Nayman, The New Yorker, 6 Apr. 2022 His subjects’ expressions blended perplexity and anger, defiance and determination, weariness and fear. New York Times, 18 Mar. 2022 His pale and beaky face is set, not unlike Ethan Hawke’s, in a near-perpetual frown of perplexity, as if he were defeated by the basic code of existence, and by other folks’ apparent ability to crack it. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 4 Feb. 2022 Their comments revealed perplexity, anger, and frustration. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English perplexite, from Middle French perplexité, from Late Latin perplexitat-, perplexitas, from Latin perplexus

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of perplexity was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near perplexity

Cite this Entry

“Perplexity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perplexity. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

perplexity

noun

per·​plex·​i·​ty pər-ˈplek-sət-ē How to pronounce perplexity (audio)
plural perplexities
1
: the state of being perplexed : bewilderment
2
: something that perplexes

More from Merriam-Webster on perplexity

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