/ (ˈbæflɪŋ) /
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impossible to understand; perplexing; bewildering; puzzling
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Derived forms of baffling

bafflingly, adverb
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


What does baffling mean?

Baffling means impossible to understand or figure out. It’s used to describe someone or something that baffles—confuses, bewilders, perplexes, or confounds.

The word usually describes someone or something that results in enough confusion to cause someone to come to standstill. Something that’s baffling stumps you or makes you completely bewildered.

A difficult riddle or confusing instructions can be described as baffling. People’s strange behavior might be baffling to you. The term is often used in the context of experts or scientists who are baffled by a baffling new discovery—one they can’t figure out or comprehend.

Example: This door baffles me! I can never figure out how to get it unlocked.

Where does baffling come from?

The first records of the word baffling as an adjective come from around the 1700s. It comes from the continuous tense (-ing form) of the verb baffle. The origin of baffle isn’t certain, but it may derive from the Scottish bauchle, meaning “to disgrace or treat with contempt.” It may also be related to the French verb bafouer, meaning “to disgrace.”

Things that are baffling to you might make you feel silly for not being able to understand them or figure them out. However, most things that are truly baffling are baffling to most people—they’re so confusing or complex that almost no one can figure them out. Things that are baffling leave you with more questions than answers.

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What are some other forms related to baffling?

  • bafflingly (adverb)
  • baffle (verb, noun)

What are some synonyms for baffling?

What are some words that share a root or word element with baffling

What are some words that often get used in discussing baffling?


How is baffling used in real life?

Baffling is usually used in informal contexts involving extreme confusion or things that you just can’t understand.


Try using baffling!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of baffling

A. bewildering
B. befuddling
C. enlightening
D. puzzling

How to use baffling in a sentence