• synonyms


[baf-uh l]
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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.
  3. to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).
  4. to equip with a baffle or baffles.
  5. Obsolete. to cheat; trick.
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verb (used without object), baf·fled, baf·fling.
  1. to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.
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  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.
  3. any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.
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Origin of baffle

1540–50; 1910–15 for def 8; perhaps < Scots bauchle to disgrace, treat with contempt, equivalent to bauch (see baff) + -le
Related formsbaf·fle·ment, nounbaf·fler, nounbaf·fling, adjectivebaf·fling·ly, adverbbaf·fling·ness, nounun·baf·fled, adjectiveun·baf·fling, adjectiveun·baf·fling·ly, adverb

Synonyms for baffle

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1. See thwart.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for baffled

mystify, elude, stump, dumbfound, bewilder, faze, befuddle, puzzle, confuse, astound, confound, amaze, daze, embarrass, stun, nonplus, disconcert, disappoint, upset, frustrate

Examples from the Web for baffled

Contemporary Examples of baffled

Historical Examples of baffled

  • If the nation was determined it would not be baffled by the Peers.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Tories and Peers especially were enraged, and regarded themselves as baffled.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • It had seemed to baffle the others; it baffled the big man now.

  • She leaned back in her chair, and surveyed the baffled man amusedly.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Bartlett sat there for one moment the picture of baffled rage.

British Dictionary definitions for baffled


verb (tr)
  1. to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
  2. to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)
  3. to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
  4. to provide with a baffle
  5. obsolete to cheat or trick
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  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
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Derived Formsbafflement, nounbaffler, noun

Word Origin for baffle

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

Word Origin and History for baffled



1540s, "to disgrace," perhaps a Scottish respelling of bauchle "to disgrace publicly" (especially a perjured knight), which is probably related to French bafouer "to abuse, hoodwink" (16c.), possibly from baf, a natural sound of disgust, like bah (cf. German baff machen "to flabbergast"). Meaning "to bewilder, confuse" is from 1640s; that of "to defeat someone's efforts" is from 1670s. Related: Baffled; baffling.

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"shielding device," 1881, from baffle (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper