- to confuse, bewilder, or perplex: He was baffled by the technical language of the instructions.
- to frustrate or confound; thwart by creating confusion or bewilderment.
- to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).
- to equip with a baffle or baffles.
- Obsolete. to cheat; trick.
- to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.
- something that balks, checks, or deflects.
- an artificial obstruction for checking or deflecting the flow of gases (as in a boiler), sounds (as in the loudspeaker system of a radio or hi-fi set), light (as in a darkroom), etc.
- any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.
Origin of baffle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for baffle
This hidden Eden continues to baffle geologists with its oculus of volcanic stone.What Made Mexico’s Most Mysterious Beach?
October 14, 2014
That decision continues to baffle some law enforcement officials nearly two decades later.New Revelations in JonBenet’s Unsolved Death
October 25, 2013
With only two young witnesses, no clear motive, and no identified suspect, the case continues to baffle authorities.Alps Murder Victims Pasts Probed by Cops
Barbie Latza Nadeau
September 22, 2012
It was no good to set broad goals for agencies: those goals tended to contradict each other—or else to baffle the agency itself.James Q. Wilson, 1931-2012
March 3, 2012
The singer-actress admits the debate continues to offend and baffle her.Jill Scott’s Soul Searching
June 22, 2011
It had seemed to baffle the others; it baffled the big man now.Way of the Lawless
I have baffled them now for nearly a year, and I can baffle them still.The Hunted Outlaw
Marot's end was to baffle his pursuers and to benefit the exiles.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
Haven't we eyes to see this ruin that's coming, and minds to baffle it with?The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
Now I like to baffle them—to leave them something to struggle with.A Day with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
- to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
- to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)
- to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
- to provide with a baffle
- obsolete to cheat or trick
- Also called: baffle board, baffle plate a plate or mechanical device designed to restrain or regulate the flow of a fluid, the emission of light or sound, or the distribution of sound, esp in a loudspeaker or microphone
Word Origin and History for baffle
1540s, "to disgrace," perhaps a Scottish respelling of bauchle "to disgrace publicly" (especially a perjured knight), which is probably related to French bafouer "to abuse, hoodwink" (16c.), possibly from baf, a natural sound of disgust, like bah (cf. German baff machen "to flabbergast"). Meaning "to bewilder, confuse" is from 1640s; that of "to defeat someone's efforts" is from 1670s. Related: Baffled; baffling.
"shielding device," 1881, from baffle (v.).