Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To frustrate or check (a person) as by confusing or perplexing; stymie.
  • transitive v. To impede the force or movement of.
  • n. A usually static device that regulates the flow of a fluid or light.
  • n. A partition that prevents interference between sound waves in a loudspeaker.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A device used to dampen the effects of such things as sound, light, or fluid. Specifically, a baffle is a surface which is placed inside an open area to inhibit direct motion from one part to another, without preventing motion altogether.
  • n. An architectural feature designed to confuse enemies or make them vulnerable.
  • v. Totally bewilder; confuse or perplex.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A defeat by artifice, shifts, and turns; discomfiture.
  • n.
  • n. A deflector, as a plate or wall, so arranged across a furnace or boiler flue as to mingle the hot gases and deflect them against the substance to be heated.
  • n. A grating or plate across a channel or pipe conveying water, gas, or the like, by which the flow is rendered more uniform in different parts of the cross section of the stream; -- used in measuring the rate of flow, as by means of a weir.
  • n. A lever for operating the throttle valve of a winding engine.
  • intransitive v. To practice deceit.
  • intransitive v. To struggle against in vain.
  • transitive v. To cause to undergo a disgraceful punishment, as a recreant knight.
  • transitive v. To check by shifts and turns; to elude; to foil.
  • transitive v. To check by perplexing; to disconcert, frustrate, or defeat; to thwart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To disgrace; treat with mockery or contumely; hold up as an object of scorn or contempt; insult; specifically, to subject to indignities, as a recreant knight or traitor.
  • To hoodwink; cheat.
  • To circumvent by interposing obstacles or difficulties; defeat the efforts, purpose, or success of; frustrate; check; foil; thwart; disconcert; confound: as, the fox baffled his pursuers; to baffle curiosity or endeavor.
  • To beat about, as the wind or stray cattle do standing grain or grass; twist irregularly together.
  • To practise deceit; shuffle; quibble.
  • To struggle ineffectually; strive in vain: as, the ship baffled with the gale.
  • In coalmining, to brush out or mix fire-damp with air, to such an extent as to render it non-explosive.
  • n. Disgrace; affront.
  • n. Defeat; discomfiture.
  • n. Same as baffler, 2.
  • n. An artificial obstruction (in the form of a board, plate, or cleat placed in the channel) to the continuous smooth flow of a liquid or gas.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. check the emission of (sound)
  • v. be a mystery or bewildering to
  • n. a flat plate that controls or directs the flow of fluid or energy
  • v. hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

Etymologies

Perhaps blend of Scottish Gaelic bauchle, to denounce, revile publicly, and French bafouer, to ridicule.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • But that is not the only reason the French word baffle is better heard than seen as I learned the other day while setting out for a voyage south.

    French Word-A-Day:

  • I bought a baffle stitched (and if my use of the word baffle, baffles you, see "irony" in the Webster's Dictionary) down feather bed.

    wendchymes Diary Entry

  • He reasoned it was either a sword baffle or some other sort of protective armor.

    Chainer's Torment

  • - The space between the bottom of the cookpot and the baffle should be the minimum required to maintain adequate draft.

    5. Heat, Fire and Stoves

  • The impulses, memories, principles, and energies which we designate by that word baffle enumeration; indeed, they constantly fade and change into one another; and whether the self is anything, everything, or nothing depends on the aspect of it which we momentarily fix, and especially on the definite object with which we contrast it.

    The Sense of Beauty Being the Outlines of Aesthetic Theory

  • Women who state that they "don't like other girls" and "can only be friends with men" kind of baffle me.

    Rachel Bertsche: Girl-Hate-Girl Action

  • The all-important "baffle" factor is provided by the album's finale, a five-song journey visiting manic Prodigy beats, serene electro balladry, fractured lo-fi sounds and rent-a-riff techno - inspired, apparently, by Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge.

    FallNews - they grease the roads! *truckers' pin-up edition*

  • The experiment was persisted in because its problems are such as baffle and fascinate a translator, and the finished version is offered not merely to students of Middle English but to college classes in the history of English literature, and to non-academic readers.

    The Pearl

  • With reference to the doctrine of his young poetry, the fierce and the tender humanity of his storm and stress period, I fancy a kind of baffle in Lowell, which I should not perhaps find it easy to prove.

    Studies of Lowell (from Literary Friends and Acquaintance)

  • Plus there are two horrendous CGI animals … a stag and a bear … that just kind of baffle the mind.

    Ain't It Cool News - The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news.

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