verb (used with object), non·plussed or non·plused,non·plus·sing or non·plus·ing.
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Origin of nonplus
what does nonplussed mean?
Nonplussed means totally perplexed, puzzled, or confused, often to the point of not knowing what to do or say.
Nonplussed is primarily used as an adjective, but it can also be the past tense of the verb nonplus, meaning to perplex, puzzle, or utterly confuse someone.
Sometimes, people use nonplussed to mean something like “nonchalant” or “unbothered” (as if the plussed part meant “bothered”), which is just about the opposite of the original meaning of nonplussed. But there is no adjective plussed. You’ll be a lot less nonplussed about all this after you read the origin of the word below.
Example: When his parents told him that they were moving the family across the country to start a skunk farm, Sam just sat there nonplussed, completely unable to process any of it.
Where does nonplussed come from?
The first records of nonplussed as an adjective come from around 1600. The word nonplus was originally used as a noun, and it comes from the Latin phrase nōn plūs, literally translating as “not more” and meaning “no further,” referring to a state in which nothing more can be done—a standstill. (The English word plus also comes from the Latin word plūs, meaning “more.”) Nonplus came to be used as a verb meaning “to bring to a standstill” and then “to perplex.”
Someone who’s nonplussed is at a loss, with “no more” to think, say, or do. They may be speechless from hearing shocking news, being tricked, or being asked a bizarre question. The same thing is implied by the word dumbfounded. A person who’s nonplussed isn’t just a little confused. They’re completely perplexed, puzzled, baffled, and bewildered—and they’re probably bothered by it.
The first records of the nonstandard use of nonplussed to mean “unfazed,” “nonchalant,” or “unimpressed” come from the 1960s, and it has become even more common since then. It’s often used in a way that’s just about the opposite of its original meaning, as in I’m nonplussed by all the attention—it doesn’t bother me at all. It most likely comes from the misconception that the non part is the common prefix non- meaning “not,” resulting in “not plussed.” But plussed does not mean “fazed” and it is not used by itself. (By contrast, you can be gruntled.)
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What are some other forms related to nonplussed?
- nonplus (verb)
What are some synonyms for nonplussed?
What are some words that share a root or word element with nonplussed?
What are some words that often get used in discussing nonplussed?
How is nonplussed used in real life?
Nonplussed meaning “unfazed” is probably used just about as much as nonplussed meaning “perplexed,” and there’s nothing you can do about it.
A truck loaded with thousands of copies of Roget's Thesaurus crashed yesterday losing its entire load. Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, shocked, rattled, paralyses, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, nonplussed…
— Ralph Nelson Willett (@NorthernOvation) March 28, 2020
Anyone else nonplussed about the penultimate definition of bemused?
— Lincoln Michel (@TheLincoln) April 17, 2018
Not reading into it, just observing, but man did the Clippers on camera look oddly nonplussed about losing that tough game
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 24, 2017
Try using nonplussed!
Is nonplussed used correctly in the following sentence?
The question left him completely nonplussed, and he just stood there with his mouth open.
Example sentences from the Web for nonplus
Then he's quiet, while I, nonplussed, just stare until he adds, “The camera must never move.”Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days|David Freeman|December 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Nonplussed, he thought for a moment, smiled, and meekly confessed, “Nothing I guess—just boxing and my family.”Vitali Klitschko Contemplates Bowing Out of the Ring and Entering Ukrainian Politics|Gordon Marino|March 26, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Pinder, 29, appears to be nonplussed, telling the website, “The shoot is meant to be fun and very tongue-in-cheek.”Catholics Pissed Over Busty Model's Topless Pics Mocking Pope|Marlow Stern|March 8, 2013|DAILY BEAST
As to why he plays mentally unfit characters so well, Shannon is nonplussed.
But the supporters of the protest movement are nonplussed by these obstacles.
When they told him they were from Bonanza, he was nonplussed.Revolution and Other Essays|Jack London
The Squire was nonplussed by the suddenness of her movement, and did not know whether to detain her or not.I, Thou, and the Other One|Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
Nonplussed, they returned to the office, and noted the unused look of the desks and counters there.The Dorrance Domain|Carolyn Wells
Jacqueline was startled but not nonplussed; she had been hoping a miracle might occur that day.Kildares of Storm|Eleanor Mercein Kelly
He wanted to know what fouls were, and how to steal bases, and he was nonplussed by such terms as “hit-and-run.”The Young Pitcher|Zane Grey