noun, plural per·plex·i·ties.

the state of being perplexed; confusion; uncertainty.
something that perplexes: a case plagued with perplexities.
a tangled, involved, or confused condition or situation.

Origin of perplexity

1350–1400; Middle English perplexite < Old French < Late Latin perplexitās, equivalent to Latin perplex(us) (see perplexed) + -itās -ity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perplexity

Contemporary Examples of perplexity

Historical Examples of perplexity

  • "I know not about that," said the big archer, scratching his head in perplexity.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • In her perplexity, she was appealing to him who was practically a stranger.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Langdon's perplexity was cut short by the cry, "They're off!"


    W. A. Fraser

  • But there was no trace of merriment or perplexity in the way he looked at Mr Verloc.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • She hurried to her own apartment, leaving them all in astonishment and perplexity.

British Dictionary definitions for perplexity


noun plural -ties

the state of being perplexed
the state of being intricate or complicated
something that perplexes
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 perplexity

c.1300, "bewilderment," from Old French perplexite "confusion, perplexity," from Late Latin perplexitatem (nominative perplexitas), from Latin perplexus "confused, involved, interwoven," from per- "completely" + plexus "entangled," past participle of plectere "to twine" (see complex (adj.)). From 1590s as "something that causes perplexity."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper