- confusing or baffling: a puzzling answer.
- the skill or pastime of constructing or working crossword or other puzzles.
Origin of puzzling
- a toy, problem, or other contrivance designed to amuse by presenting difficulties to be solved by ingenuity or patient effort.
- something puzzling; a puzzling question, matter, or person.
- a puzzled or perplexed condition; bewilderment.
- a crossword puzzle: Did you do the puzzle in the newspaper today?
- a jigsaw puzzle.
- to put (someone) at a loss; mystify; confuse; baffle: Her attitude puzzles me.
- to frustrate or confound, as the understanding; perplex: The problem puzzled him for weeks.
- to exercise (oneself, one's brain, etc.) over some problem or matter.
- Archaic. to make intricate or complicated.
- to be perplexed or confused.
- to ponder or study over some perplexing problem or matter.
- puzzle out, to solve by careful study or effort: I was unable to puzzle out the message.
Origin of puzzle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for puzzling
Whether the lack of liberal involvement in the museum is the result of commission or omission, it is puzzling.Communism's Victims Deserve a Museum
August 25, 2014
May 23, 2014
During this time, physicians began to produce case studies of patients whose inability to read was puzzling.Your Kid's Dyslexia Diagnosis Is B.S.
April 1, 2014
True Detective is foreboding, expansive, puzzling, sometimes infuriating, and lovely to look at.‘True Detective,’ Obsessive-Compulsive Noir, and ‘Twin Peaks’
March 14, 2014
That last surprising and puzzling image sent everyone out into the lobby asking, “What was that about?”‘Room 237’ Subject Bill Blakemore Writes About His ‘The Shining’ Theories
March 29, 2013
When we had satisfied ourselves that he was alone, we took pleasure in puzzling him.The Trail Book
This was a puzzling thing, but the excavators studied it out at last.Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae
He remained reserved, retiring, inconspicuous, and puzzling to our understanding.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
Sometimes I have thought, sir, when puzzling over it, that he may be screening another.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
She saw her way out of the difficulty that had been puzzling her.The Widow O'Callaghan's Boys
- to perplex or be perplexed
- (intr foll by over) to attempt the solution (of); ponder (about)he puzzled over her absence
- (tr usually foll by out) to solve by mental efforthe puzzled out the meaning of the inscription
Word Origin and History for puzzling
"bewildering," 1660s, present participle adjective from puzzle (v.). Related: Puzzlingly.
c.1600, "state of being puzzled," from puzzle (v.); meaning "perplexing question" is from 1650s; that of "a toy contrived to test one's ingenuity" is from 1814.