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[per-plek-si-tee] /pərˈplɛk sɪ ti/
noun, plural perplexities.
the state of being perplexed; confusion; uncertainty.
something that perplexes:
a case plagued with perplexities.
a tangled, involved, or confused condition or situation.
Origin of perplexity
1350-1400; Middle English perplexite < Old French < Late Latin perplexitās, equivalent to Latin perplex(us) (see perplexed) + -itās -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perplexity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "I know not about that," said the big archer, scratching his head in perplexity.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • In her perplexity, she was appealing to him who was practically a stranger.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Langdon's perplexity was cut short by the cry, "They're off!"

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • But there was no trace of merriment or perplexity in the way he looked at Mr Verloc.

    The Secret Agent Joseph Conrad
  • She hurried to her own apartment, leaving them all in astonishment and perplexity.

  • And it was with a child's look of pitiful dismay and perplexity that he faced the sheriff.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
British Dictionary definitions for perplexity


noun (pl) -ties
the state of being perplexed
the state of being intricate or complicated
something that perplexes
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 perplexity

c.1300, "bewilderment," from Old French perplexite "confusion, perplexity," from Late Latin perplexitatem (nominative perplexitas), from Latin perplexus "confused, involved, interwoven," from per- "completely" + plexus "entangled," past participle of plectere "to twine" (see complex (adj.)). From 1590s as "something that causes perplexity."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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