Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

confusing

[kuh n-fyoo-zing]
See more synonyms for confusing on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. causing or tending to cause confusion: a confusing attempt at explanation.
Show More

Origin of confusing

First recorded in 1840–50; confuse + -ing2
Related formscon·fus·ing·ly, adverbcon·fus·ing·ness, nounun·con·fus·ing, adjective

confuse

[kuh n-fyooz]
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.
  3. to fail to distinguish between; associate by mistake; confound: to confuse dates; He always confuses the twins.
  4. to disconcert or abash: His candor confused her.
  5. to combine without order; jumble; disorder: Try not to confuse the papers on the desk.
  6. Archaic. to bring to ruin or naught.
Show More

Origin of confuse

back formation from confused (since early 19th century), Middle English confused < Anglo-French confus (with -ed -ed2 maintaining participial sense) < Latin confūsus, past participle of confundere; see confound
Related formscon·fus·a·ble, adjectivecon·fus·a·bil·i·ty, nouncon·fus·a·bly, adverbcon·fus·ed·ly [kuh n-fyoo-zid-lee, -fyoozd-] /kənˈfyu zɪd li, -ˈfyuzd-/, adverbcon·fus·ed·ness, nounpre·con·fuse, verb (used with object), pre·con·fused, pre·con·fus·ing.pre·con·fus·ed·ly, adverbre·con·fuse, verb (used with object), re·con·fused, re·con·fus·ing.su·per·con·fused, adjectiveun·con·fus·a·ble, adjectiveun·con·fus·a·bly, adverbun·con·fused, adjectiveun·con·fus·ed·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for confuse on Thesaurus.com
1. mystify, nonplus. 4. mortify, shame. 5. disarray, disarrange, disturb.

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for confusing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Some sweet, confusing influence, he knew not what, passed into his blood.

  • The reader should take note of this term and refrain from confusing it with the sails.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats

    Raymond Francis Yates

  • She had often been on errands alone in the great city, where everything was so confusing.

  • The din is so confusing, and your aunt is quite right—one ought to make a list.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • He may be described as confusing the attraction of gravitation with the attraction of cohesion.

    Timaeus

    Plato


British Dictionary definitions for confusing

confusing

adjective
  1. causing bewilderment; difficult to follow; puzzling
Show More
Derived Formsconfusingly, adverb

confuse

verb (tr)
  1. to bewilder; perplex
  2. to mix up (things, ideas, etc); jumble
  3. to make unclearhe confused his talk with irrelevant details
  4. to fail to recognize the difference between; mistake (one thing) for another
  5. to disconcert; embarrass
  6. to cause to become disorderedthe enemy ranks were confused by gas
Show More
Derived Formsconfusable, adjective, nounconfusability, noun

Word Origin

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

confuse

v.

1550s, in literal sense "mix or mingle things so as to render the elements indistinguishable;" attested from mid-18c. in active, figurative sense of "discomfit in mind or feeling;" not in general use until 19c., taking over senses formerly belonging to confound, dumbfound, flabbergast etc. The past participle confused (q.v.) is attested much earlier (serving as an alternative past tense to confound), and the verb here might be a back-formation from it. Related: Confusing.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper