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90s Slang You Should Know


[per-pleks] /pərˈplɛks/
verb (used with object)
to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally:
Her strange response perplexed me.
to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
to hamper with complications, confusion, or uncertainty.
Origin of perplex
First recorded in 1585-95; back formation from perplexed
Related forms
perplexer, noun
perplexingly, adverb
unperplexing, adjective
1. mystify, confound. 2. tangle, snarl. 3. vex, annoy, bother. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for perplex
Historical Examples
  • Do this; so shall thy soul stand before thee always, and perplex thee no more.

  • This poverty in nature must perplex the Mesopotamian artist.

    In Mesopotamia Martin Swayne
  • Eternally talking of philosophy and philanthropy, they borrow the terms only to perplex the ignorant and seduce the imagination.

    Leonora Maria Edgeworth
  • But like all the others that have been made, only serving to perplex them.

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
  • In the midst of these festivities, Mary had various cares to perplex her, and various difficulties to encounter.

  • If I have my private doubts, why should I set them up to perplex the community withal?

  • There is a collection of divinity sufficient to perplex the reason of all the inhabitants of Europe.

  • Some of the girls asked foolish questions just to perplex her.

    The Girls at Mount Morris Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • As if there were not enough to perplex Mark, a new problem rose up before him just then.

    On Guard Upton Sinclair
  • After what he had just promised her, his hope must perplex and even trouble her.

    Adrienne Toner Anne Douglas Sedgwick
British Dictionary definitions for perplex


verb (transitive)
to puzzle; bewilder; confuse
to complicate: to perplex an issue
Word Origin
C15: from obsolete perplex (adj) intricate, from Latin perplexus entangled, from per- (thoroughly) + plectere to entwine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perplex

late 14c. as an adjective, "perplexed, puzzled, bewildered," from Latin perplexus "involved, confused, intricate;" but Latin had no corresponding verb *perplectere. The Latin compound would be per "through" (see per) + plexus "entangled," past participle of plectere "to twine, braid, fold" (see complex (adj.)).

The form of the English adjective shifted to perplexed by late 15c., probably to conform to other past participle adjectives. The verb is latest attested of the group, in 1590s, evidently a back-formation from the adjective. Related: Perplexing, which well describes the history of the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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