[ kuhn-fyooz ]
See synonyms for: confuseconfusedconfusesconfusing on

verb (used with object),con·fused, con·fus·ing.
  1. to perplex or bewilder: The flood of questions confused me.

  2. to make unclear or indistinct: The rumors and angry charges tended to confuse the issue.

  1. to fail to distinguish between; associate by mistake; confound: to confuse dates;He always confuses the twins.

  2. to disconcert or abash: His candor confused her.

  3. to combine without order; jumble; disorder: Try not to confuse the papers on the desk.

  4. Archaic. to bring to ruin or naught.

Origin of confuse

First recorded in 1300–50; from Old French confus “perplexed,” from Latin confūsus “mixed, poured,” past participle of confundere; see confound

synonym study For confuse

1. Confuse, disconcert, embarrass imply temporary interference with the clear working of one's mind. To confuse is to produce a general bewilderment: to confuse someone by giving complicated directions. To disconcert is to disturb one's mind by irritation, perplexities, etc.: to disconcert someone by asking irrelevant questions. To embarrass is to cause one to be ill at ease or uncomfortable, so that one's usual judgment and presence of mind desert one: to embarrass someone by unexpected rudeness.

Other words for confuse

Other words from confuse

  • con·fus·a·ble, adjective
  • con·fus·a·bil·i·ty [kuhn-fyoo-zuh-bil-i-tee], /kənˌfyu zəˈbɪl ɪ ti/, noun
  • con·fus·a·bly, adverb
  • pre·con·fuse, verb (used with object), pre·con·fused, pre·con·fus·ing.
  • re·con·fuse, verb (used with object), re·con·fused, re·con·fus·ing.
  • un·con·fus·a·ble, adjective
  • un·con·fus·a·bly, adverb

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

How to use confuse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for confuse


/ (kənˈfjuːz) /

  1. to bewilder; perplex

  2. to mix up (things, ideas, etc); jumble

  1. to make unclear: he confused his talk with irrelevant details

  2. to fail to recognize the difference between; mistake (one thing) for another

  3. to disconcert; embarrass

  4. to cause to become disordered: the enemy ranks were confused by gas

Origin of confuse

C18: back formation from confused, from Latin confūsus mingled together, from confundere to pour together; see confound

Derived forms of confuse

  • confusable, adjective, noun
  • confusability, 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