from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To confuse or trouble with uncertainty or doubt.
  • transitive verb To make confusedly intricate; complicate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Intricate; difficult.
  • noun A difficulty; an entanglement; something hard to understand; a perplexity.
  • To make intricate; involve; entangle; make complicated and difficult to be understood or unraveled.
  • To embarrass; puzzle; distract; bewilder; trouble with suspense, anxiety, or ambiguity.
  • Synonyms To complicate, tangle, snarl.
  • Puzzle, etc. (see embarrass), confuse, harass, pose, nonplus, put to a stand, mystify.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Intricate; difficult.
  • transitive verb To involve; to entangle; to make intricate or complicated, and difficult to be unraveled or understood.
  • transitive verb To embarrass; to puzzle; to distract; to bewilder; to confuse; to trouble with ambiguity, suspense, or anxiety.
  • transitive verb To plague; to vex; to tormen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To cause to feel baffled; to puzzle.
  • adjective obsolete intricate; difficult

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

  • verb be a mystery or bewildering to
  • verb make more complicated


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

[Back-formation from Middle English perplexed, puzzled; see perplexed.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Latin perplexus ("entangled, confused"), from per ("through") + plexus, perfect passive participle of plectō ("plait, weave, braid").


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  • See also perplexed.

    August 29, 2008

  • I remember playing a word search computer game with my friend when I was young, and we got all of them except this one. "Well there's purple, but it's with an e!" "No, it's gotta be something else!" Pretty sure a mom finished it for us. So now I read it as PERPLE-X.

    December 15, 2015