[ baf-uhl ]
See synonyms for: bafflebaffledbafflingbafflement on

verb (used with object),baf·fled, baf·fling.
  1. to confuse, bewilder, or perplex: He was baffled by the technical language of the instructions.

  2. to frustrate or confound; thwart by creating confusion or bewilderment.

  1. to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).

  2. to equip with a baffle or baffles.

  3. Obsolete. to cheat; trick.

verb (used without object),baf·fled, baf·fling.
  1. to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.

  1. something that balks, checks, or deflects.

  2. 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.

  1. any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.

Origin of baffle

First recorded in1540–50; 1910–15 for def. 8; perhaps from Scots bauchle “to disgrace, treat with contempt,” equivalent to bauch (see baff) + -le

synonym study For baffle

1. See thwart.

Other words from baffle

  • baf·fle·ment, noun
  • baf·fler, noun
  • baf·fling, adjective
  • baf·fling·ly, adverb
  • baf·fling·ness, noun
  • un·baf·fling, adjective
  • un·baf·fling·ly, adverb

Words Nearby baffle Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use baffle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for baffle


/ (ˈbæfəl) /

  1. to perplex; bewilder; puzzle

  2. to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)

  1. to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)

  2. to provide with a baffle

  3. obsolete to cheat or trick

  1. 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

Origin of baffle

C16: perhaps from Scottish dialect bachlen to condemn publicly; perhaps related to French bafouer to disgrace

Derived forms of baffle

  • bafflement, noun
  • baffler, noun

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