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.

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 for perplex Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for perplexingly

Contemporary Examples of perplexingly

Historical Examples of perplexingly

  • Nearly all women are perplexingly interesting as human beings.

    I, Mary MacLane

    Mary MacLane

  • Papa was looking almost as perplexingly young as she, and I made up the little party to the number of the Graces.

    Willing to Die

    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

  • That evidence, as it now lies before us, is perplexingly various both in content and quality.

  • Cecil rounded one of his perplexingly empty sentences and turned on his heel.

  • Certainly, few people were ever more fortunately, or perplexingly placed, than I am just now.

British Dictionary definitions for perplexingly


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

Word Origin for perplex

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 perplexingly



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper