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See more synonyms for bewildering on Thesaurus.com
  1. extremely confusing: a bewildering schedule of events.
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Origin of bewildering

First recorded in 1785–95; bewilder + -ing2
Related formsbe·wil·der·ing·ly, adverbun·be·wil·der·ing, adjectiveun·be·wil·der·ing·ly, adverb


verb (used with object)
  1. to confuse or puzzle completely; perplex: These shifting attitudes bewilder me.
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Origin of bewilder

First recorded in 1675–85; be- + wilder1


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

Related Words

mystify, confound, stump, perplex, rattle, befuddle, puzzle, bemuse, upset, distract, baffle, daze, stupefy, fluster, disconcert, snow, floor, throw, muddle, addle

Examples from the Web for bewildering

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • No lawful passion can ever be so bewildering or ecstatic as an unlawful one.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • The case of Yates was by all odds the most complex and bewildering of the four.

  • There were such a bewildering lot of them, now that I had pried open my eyes.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Broken, bewildering, vague, an echo that answers to nothing!


    William D. Howells

  • And to avoid the bewildering depths into which we were led, we suggested a stroll on the sands.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

British Dictionary definitions for bewildering


  1. causing utter confusion; puzzling
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Derived Formsbewilderingly, adverb


verb (tr)
  1. to confuse utterly; puzzle
  2. archaic to cause to become lost
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Derived Formsbewilderment, noun

Word Origin

C17: see be-, wilder
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 bewildering



1680s, from be- "thoroughly" + archaic wilder "lead astray, lure into the wilds," probably a back-formation of wilderness. An earlier word with the same sense was bewhape (early 14c.). Related: Bewildered; bewildering; bewilderingly.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper