Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[per-plekst] /pərˈplɛkst/
bewildered; puzzled:
a perplexed state of mind.
complicated; involved; entangled.
Origin of perplexed
1350-1400; Middle English perplex confused (< Latin perplexus; see per-, complex) + -ed2
Related forms
[per-plek-sid-lee] /pərˈplɛk sɪd li/ (Show IPA),
perplexedness, noun
self-perplexed, adjective
unperplexed, adjective


[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.
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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for perplexed
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Though devoted to his mother and sister, I always fancied there was a perplexed misunderstanding between Jim and his father.

    Sonia Between two Worlds Stephen McKenna
  • "I don't understand it at all," said the commander with a perplexed look on his face.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • How he was to get up there would have perplexed an observer.

    Ben Blair Will Lillibridge
  • He paused for some seconds with a perplexed expression on his face.

    The Friendly Road (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker
  • Sometimes he attempted to solve arithmetical questions which had perplexed him while at school.

    Biographical Stories Nathaniel Hawthorne
British Dictionary definitions for perplexed


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for perplexed

late 15c., past participle adjective; see perplex. A case of a past participle form attested centuries before the verb (perplex isn't recorded until 17c.). Related: Perplexedly; perplexedness.



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for perplexed

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for perplexed

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for perplexed