- 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 baffling
How Ragsdale can live with all this day-in-day-out intensity from strangers is baffling.Sex, Suicide, and Homework: The Secret World of the Telephone Hotline
November 20, 2014
This is the baffling, awkward dichotomy that is MTV in 2014.Butts, ‘Bang Bang’ & Beyoncé: The Craziest MTV Video Music Awards Moments
August 25, 2014
Around my own friends, someone will wind up a conversation with a shrug and a baffling—to me—utterance of “Haters gonna hate.”Why We Should Hate 'Haters Gonna Hate'
August 25, 2014
They have also been baffling, alternating between high hope and disappointment.Progressive-palooza: On Obama, Occupy, and Moral Monday
July 5, 2014
What can we do except to throw up our hands in dismay at the baffling nature of life?Confessions of a Death Camp Collaborator: Claude Lanzmann’s ‘The Last of the Unjust’
February 7, 2014
There had been in her gaze a conflict of emotions, strong and baffling.Within the Law
His face had altered in the last year, but not for the worse, which was baffling.Where Angels Fear to Tread
E. M. Forster
These women spoke a baffling language; their psychology was hard for me.The Million-Dollar Suitcase
It was the most bewildering, the most baffling jig-saw of a business she had ever heard of.Love and Lucy
Maurice Henry Hewlett
This unforeseen veil, baffling his curiosity checked his brusqueness.Victory
- impossible to understand; perplexing; bewildering; puzzling
- 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 baffling
1783, "bewildering," present participle adjective from baffle (v.); earlier a sailor's adjective for winds that blow variously and make headway difficult (c.1770s).
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.).