[ buhm-fuhz-uhl ]

verb (used with object)

, Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
, bum·fuz·zled, bum·fuz·zling.
  1. to confuse or fluster.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of bumfuzzle1

First recorded in 1900–05; origin uncertain; from bum- (as in the initial syllable of Scottish bumbaze, bombaze “to confuse” ( bamboozle ) + fuzzle “to confuse” (perhaps a blend of fuddle and fuzzy ( def ) )


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More About Bumfuzzle

What does bumfuzzle mean?

To bumfuzzle is to confuse or fluster.

Bumfuzzle is most often used in the dialect of the Southern United States. It is colloquial, meaning it is typically used in informal conversation. It is very similar to bamboozle, and may be derived from it.

Example: I was totally bumfuzzled by the physics homework last night—I didn’t understand any of it!

Where does bumfuzzle come from?

Bumfuzzle has been used since at least the late 1800s. Fittingly, its origin isn’t certain. Its first part, bum, is perhaps a variation of the first part of bamboozle, which has been used since the 1700s. The second part, fuzzle, maybe be an alteration of fuddle, which also means “to confuse.”

In 1999, President Bill Clinton (who was born in the Southern state of Arkansas) used bumfuzzled in a speech. Due to how obscure it is, some people thought that Clinton had coined it himself. (Interestingly, in the White House transcript of the event, it was spelled bum-fusseled.)

Bumfuzzle is mainly used by Southern speakers in informal conversation, but it is not limited to that region. Let’s be honest, when you hear a word like bumfuzzle, you add it to your vocabulary no matter where you live. So the next time you’re confused, bamboozled, perplexed, bewildered, puzzled, or befuddled, you can say that something is bumfuzzling you.

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What are some other forms of bumfuzzle?

  • bumfuzzled (adjective)

What are some synonyms for bumfuzzle?

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

How is bumfuzzle used in real life?

Bumfuzzle sounds silly, so it’s usually used to be funny, especially when describing a humorously confusing situation.



Try using bumfuzzle!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym for bumfuzzle?

A. bamboozle
B. clarify
C. perplex
D. confuse