- to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally: Her strange response perplexed me.
- to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
- to hamper with complications, confusion, or uncertainty.
Origin of perplex
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for perplex
He was a poet without knowing it, and his gifts only served to perplex him further.Bunyan
James Anthony Froude
If I have my private doubts, why should I set them up to perplex the community withal?Dreamers of the Ghetto
It was not so difficult as to perplex them, and yet it required attention and care.
The idea of his teacher's trying to perplex and embarrass him, was entirely new.
"I don't want to perplex you, but I have done something," said Nick, getting up.The Tragic Muse
- to puzzle; bewilder; confuse
- to complicateto perplex an issue
Word Origin and History for perplex
late 14c. as an adjective, "perplexed, puzzled, bewildered," from Latin perplexus "involved, confused, intricate;" but Latin had no corresponding verb *perplectere. The Latin compound would be per "through" (see per) + plexus "entangled," past participle of plectere "to twine, braid, fold" (see complex (adj.)).
The form of the English adjective shifted to perplexed by late 15c., probably to conform to other past participle adjectives. The verb is latest attested of the group, in 1590s, evidently a back-formation from the adjective. Related: Perplexing, which well describes the history of the word.