- 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.
- a puzzled or perplexed condition; bewilderment.
- a crossword puzzle: Did you do the puzzle in the newspaper today?
- a jigsaw puzzle.
- 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.
- 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.
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. 6. confound.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
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
c.1600, "state of being puzzled," from puzzle (v.); meaning "perplexing question" is from 1650s; that of "a toy contrived to test one's ingenuity" is from 1814.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper