[ puhz-uh l ]
/ ˈpʌz əl /
a toy, problem, or other contrivance designed to amuse by presenting difficulties to be solved by ingenuity or patient effort.
something puzzling; a puzzling question, matter, or person.
verb (used with object), puz·zled, puz·zling.
to put (someone) at a loss; mystify; confuse; baffle: Her attitude puzzles me.
to frustrate or confound, as the understanding; perplex: The problem puzzled him for weeks.
to exercise (oneself, one's brain, etc.) over some problem or matter.
Archaic. to make intricate or complicated.
verb (used without object), puz·zled, puz·zling.
to be perplexed or confused.
to ponder or study over some perplexing problem or matter.
puzzle out, to solve by careful study or effort: I was unable to puzzle out the message.
Learn The History Of The New York Times Crossword PuzzleThere are plenty of crossword puzzles in publications across the country, but when we think of the pinnacle of puzzledom (Not officially a word, but, perhaps, it should be?), the purveyors of the most preeminent puzzles, we bow to The New York Times (NYT). But how did it all begin?
Origin of puzzle
First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain
SYNONYMS FOR puzzle
2 Puzzle, riddle, enigma refer to something baffling or confusing that is to be solved. A puzzle is a question or problem, intricate enough to be perplexing to the mind; it is sometimes a contrivance made purposely perplexing to test one's ingenuity: a crossword puzzle; The reason for their behavior remains a puzzle. A riddle is an intentionally obscure statement or question, the meaning of or answer to which is to be arrived at only by guessing: the famous riddle of the Sphinx. Enigma, originally meaning riddle, now refers to some baffling problem with connotations of mysteriousness: He will always be an enigma to me.
Related formspuz·zled·ly, adverbpuz·zled·ness, nounun·puz·zle, verb (used with object), un·puz·zled, un·puz·zling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for puzzle out
/ (ˈpʌzəl) /
to perplex or be perplexed
(intr foll by over) to attempt the solution (of); ponder (about)he puzzled over her absence
(tr usually foll by out) to solve by mental efforthe puzzled out the meaning of the inscription
Derived Formspuzzling, adjective
Word Origin for puzzle
C16: of unknown origin
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
Idioms and Phrases with puzzle out
Clarify or solve something, as in It took him a while to puzzle out the significance of the statement. [Late 1700s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.