Origin of mind-boggling
OTHER WORDS FROM mind-bogglingmind-bog·gling·ly, adverb
Words nearby mind-boggling
MORE ABOUT MIND BOGGLING
What does mind-boggling mean?
Mind-boggling means utterly overwhelming to the mind or extremely difficult to understand or comprehend.
The verb boggle means to overwhelm or bewilder, such as with complexity or abnormality.
Things are often described as mind-boggling when they’re incredibly complex or exist on a scale that’s impossible to comprehend or “wrap your head around.”
A similar term is mind-blowing. Mind-blowing is usually used to describe things that are impressive, whereas mind-boggling usually describes things that are confusing or hard to even think about. Still, the terms are often used interchangeably.
The related verb phrase boggle the mind means to astound or be incomprehensible, as in His behavior really boggles the mind sometimes—I can’t begin to understand his motivation for doing the things he does.
Example: The size and scale of the universe is mind-boggling—it’s impossible to grasp its magnitude.
Where does mind-boggling come from?
The first records of the term mind-boggling come from the mid-1900s. The phrase the mind boggles (at something) is recorded earlier, right around 1900. It’s basically the passive form of boggle the mind, as in The mind boggles at the unexplored depths of the ocean. The verb boggle may derive from the word bogle, an old term for a kind of ghost or goblin (the word boogeyman is based on the same root).
Things described as mind-boggling are incomprehensible, astounding, and bewildering. They overwhelm our minds with their utter complexity, massiveness, strangeness, or a combination of these things. Of course, the word is often used to exaggerate how big or complex something is. Big numbers are often described as mind-boggling. Another word for this is astronomical, as in The estimated cost is astronomical—it’s mind-bogglingly huge. This uses the scale of the universe as a metaphor for things that are huge and unable to be put in perspective. This is exactly the kind of thing that mind-boggling is used to describe.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to mind-boggling?
- mind-bogglingly (adverb)
What are some synonyms for mind-boggling?
What are some words that share a root or word element with mind-boggling?
What are some words that often get used in discussing mind-boggling?
How is mind-boggling used in real life?
Mind-boggling is typically used informally, even when applied to scientific topics like the size of the universe.
‘While @HighwaysEngland has argued that its plan to improve the A303 with a tunnel will cut congestion, Professor Parker Pearson said: “The expenses per mile are mind-boggling. It’s a tunnel that’s basically 2.9km long and it’s going to cost £1.6bn.’https://t.co/R1z98yHden
— Stonehenge Alliance (@SaveStonehenge) June 22, 2020
The images acquired by the radar on board #Sentinel1 🇪🇺🛰️ over #AbacoIsland in the #Bahamas show the mind-boggling magnitude of the storm surge as a result of #HurricaneDorian pic.twitter.com/QiRuu4Z0lI
— Copernicus EMS (@CopernicusEMS) September 3, 2019
Zhongshuge Bookstore in Chongqing, China, uses mirrored ceilings and a maze of staircases to create a mind-boggling space pic.twitter.com/ufcPJiQu8s
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) June 17, 2020
Try using mind-boggling!
Is mind-boggling used correctly in the following sentence?
The fact that such a bad movie can win so many awards is mind-boggling.
How to use mind-boggling in a sentence
When you talk about midtown Manhattan as being a commercial backwater, I find it mind boggling.When New York City Hit Its Stride|Allen Barra|July 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Science allows for the unlikely, the extremely rare, the mind-boggling—but it does not allow for the impossible.It’s Impossible to Cure a Baby With HIV, No Matter How Seductive the Hope May Be|Kent Sepkowitz|July 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The forests, with their mind-boggling biodiversity, are a staggering 10,000 times older than those of North America and Europe.Exploring the Amazon, While We Still Can|Darrell Hartman|May 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The notion of “good bacteria” is now familiar, as is the mind-boggling variety of different bacteria we have in and on us.Buy That Breast Milk!|Kent Sepkowitz|October 22, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Seaman's mind-boggling dereliction of responsibility harms the state whose interests he was, and is, tasked with protecting.Bullying Israeli Government Flack Sparks Diplomatic Row—Among Other Concerns|Noga Tarnopolsky|August 21, 2013|DAILY BEAST