Wednesday, June 23, 2010


v. puz·zled, puz·zling, puz·zles
1. To baffle or confuse mentally by presenting or being a difficult problem or matter.
2. To clarify or solve (something confusing) by reasoning or study: He puzzled out the significance of the statement.
1. To be perplexed.
2. To ponder over a problem in an effort to solve or understand it.
1. Something, such as a game, toy, or problem, that requires ingenuity and often persistence in solving or assembling.
2. Something that baffles or confuses.
3. The condition of being perplexed; bewilderment.

[Origin unknown.]

puzzler n.
Synonyms: puzzle, perplex, mystify, bewilder, confound
These verbs mean to cause bafflement or confusion. Puzzle suggests difficulty in solving or interpreting something: "The poor creature puzzled me once . . . by a question merely natural and innocent" (Daniel Defoe).
Perplex stresses uncertainty or anxiety, as over reaching an understanding or finding a solution: a dilemma that perplexed the committee.
Mystify implies defying comprehension by obscuring facts: symbolism that mystifies me.
Bewilder emphasizes extreme mental confusion: "The old know what they want; the young are sad and bewildered" (Logan Pearsall Smith).
To confound is to confuse and astonish: God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (I Corinthians 1:27).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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