[ mis-tuh-fahy ]
See synonyms for: mystifymystifiedmystifyingmystification on

verb (used with object),mys·ti·fied, mys·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to perplex, puzzle, or baffle; defy the understanding of: The judge's decision in this case completely mystifies me, given all the evidence.

  2. to perplex (a person) by playing upon their ignorance, gullibility, or naiveté; bewilder purposely: It's the perfect propaganda to mystify and demoralize voters.

  1. to involve in mystery or obscurity: These vague terms serve only to further mystify the concept for readers.

Origin of mystify

First recorded in 1805–15; from French mystifier, equivalent to mysti- (irregular combining form of mystique mystic or mystère mystery1) + -fier -fy

Other words for mystify

Other words from mystify

  • mys·ti·fi·ca·tion [mis-tuh-fi-key-shuhn], /ˌmɪs tə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən/, noun
  • mys·ti·fied·ly, adverb
  • mys·ti·fi·er, noun
  • mys·ti·fy·ing·ly, adverb
  • o·ver·mys·ti·fy, verb (used with object), o·ver·mys·ti·fied, o·ver·mys·ti·fy·ing.
  • un·mys·ti·fied, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use mystify in a sentence

  • He led the way down to the ground floor, while they followed him, mystified, and into the elevator again.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • Nevertheless, mystified as he was, he concealed the details of their trip under an evasive answer when he returned to his room.

    The Woman Gives | Owen Johnson
  • Liosha, although accepting my apology, had sat mystified; also profoundly disturbed by Jaffery's unconcealed agitation.

    Jaffery | William J. Locke
  • The men were mystified, but wine and rhetoric had fired them, and they cheered him—no one knew why.

  • Then the attacking party, evidently disappointed and mystified, withdrew again into the forest.

    Menotah | Ernest G. Henham

British Dictionary definitions for mystify


/ (ˈmɪstɪˌfaɪ) /

verb-fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
  1. to confuse, bewilder, or puzzle

  2. to make mysterious or obscure

Origin of mystify

C19: from French mystifier, from mystère mystery 1 or mystique mystic

Derived forms of mystify

  • mystification, noun
  • mystifier, noun
  • mystifying, adjective
  • mystifyingly, adverb

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