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perplex

[per-pleks]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally: Her strange response perplexed me.
  2. to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
  3. to hamper with complications, confusion, or uncertainty.
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Origin of perplex

First recorded in 1585–95; back formation from perplexed
Related formsper·plex·er, nounper·plex·ing·ly, adverbun·per·plex·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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1. mystify, confound. 2. tangle, snarl. 3. vex, annoy, bother.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perplexing

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He seemed as if he had got something upon his mind which was perplexing him.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Of course, he was going, but the perplexing thing was, what to do with that other ticket.

  • Oh, what a torturing, doubt-raising, perplexing thing this Love was!

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Here is no path, I said, and the wood is dark and perplexing; still we must push on.

  • The latest pronouncement, however, was for the moment the most perplexing.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael


British Dictionary definitions for perplexing

perplex

verb (tr)
  1. to puzzle; bewilder; confuse
  2. to complicateto perplex an issue
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Word Origin

C15: from obsolete perplex (adj) intricate, from Latin perplexus entangled, from per- (thoroughly) + plectere to entwine
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 perplexing

perplex

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper