Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To put at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; bewilder.
  • n. A state of perplexity, confusion, or bewilderment.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A state of perplexity or bewilderment.
  • v. to perplex or bewilder someone; to confound or flummox

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A state or condition which baffles reason or confounds judgment; insuperable difficulty; inability to proceed or decide; puzzle; quandary.
  • transitive v. To puzzle; to confound; to perplex; to cause to stop by embarrassment.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To perplex; puzzle; confound; put to a standstill; stop by embarrassment.
  • n. A state in which one is unable to proceed or decide; a state of perplexity; a puzzled condition; inability to say or do more; puzzle: usually in the phrase at or to a nonplus.

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

  • v. be a mystery or bewildering to

Etymologies

From Latin nōn plūs, no more : nōn, not; see non- + plūs, more; see pelə-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin nōn plūs ("no more, no further") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Admiration which is the soul's "nonplus," its doing it knows not what, the winding of it up until it stands still, ready to break -- is all that we can arrive unto in the consideration hereof.

    The Sermons of John Owen

  • Providence itself to a kind of nonplus, to attemper any dispensation of it to an universal acceptance; any more than that glorious fountain of light, the sun, can shine upon all the corners of the earth at once.

    Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions. Vol. V.

  • The Insurance Companies are scum, and maybe private citizens can form competitive nonplus one profits to compete with them.

    Steele: No guilt trip after Kennedy death

  • Which, for ‘nonplus’ v. gives ‘1. surprise and confuse; flummox 2. as adj. nonplussed unperturbed’.

    Friday! June 26 – The Bleat.

  • He was so preoccupied with the effect he wished to produce, that a practical joke, Blondet, had bet once or twice, and won the wager, that he could nonplus him at any moment by merely looking fixedly at his hair, or his boots, or the tails of his coats.

    Modeste Mignon

  • But Sir Condy all this time, and a great while afterwards, was at a terrible nonplus; for he had no liking, not he, to stage-plays, nor to Miss Isabella either — to his mind, as it came out over a bowl of whisky-punch at home, his little Judy

    Castle Rackrent

  • Kirk was happy to claim extraordinary knowledge and nonplus Perrit and I've never seen him since back off this comment or apologize for its inaccuracy.

    Mark Kirk Knew Better Than Did His Constitutents; We Were Supposed to Trust Him and WWII Proved Him Out...Right?

  • You'll remember in his 2002 debate with Democratic candidate Hank Perritt, he used his military background and supposed extra insider information to nonplus Prof.

    Archive 2006-11-01

  • The nominee remains nonplus, but his better half bears the better part of the burden.

    CNN Transcript Jan 12, 2006

  • Is it not surprising that the language of Mr. Petulengro and of Tawno Chikno is continually coming to my assistance whenever I appear to be at a nonplus with respect to the derivation of crabbed words?

    Lavengro

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