Definitions

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

  • adjective Filled with confusion or bewilderment; puzzled.
  • adjective Full of complications or difficulty; involved.

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

  • adjective Entangled, involved, or confused; hence, embarrassd; puzzled; doubtful; anxious.

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

  • adjective Confused or puzzled.
  • adjective Bewildered.
  • verb Simple past tense and past participle of perplex.

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

  • adjective full of difficulty or confusion or bewilderment

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from perplex, confused, from Old French perplexe, from Latin perplexus : per-, per- + plexus, past participle of plectere, to entwine; see plek- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • The redhead, wearing a purple tank top and black leather pants underneath her unbelted black trench, dropped into a crouch in front of a crypt, her expression perplexed as she studied the path.

    Etched in Bone

  • The redhead, wearing a purple tank top and black leather pants underneath her unbelted black trench, dropped into a crouch in front of a crypt, her expression perplexed as she studied the path.

    Etched in Bone

  • The redhead, wearing a purple tank top and black leather pants underneath her unbelted black trench, dropped into a crouch in front of a crypt, her expression perplexed as she studied the path.

    Etched in Bone

  • The redhead, wearing a purple tank top and black leather pants underneath her unbelted black trench, dropped into a crouch in front of a crypt, her expression perplexed as she studied the path.

    Etched in Bone

  • “Ms. Sexton,” he said, his expression perplexed and troubled.

    Deception Point

  • She traced the tip of a finger over the edge of the box, her expression perplexed.

    One Night in Scotland

  • Reporting from Reno- The woman slouched on the steps of the rundown motel, her hair mussed, her pinkish outfit rumpled, her expression perplexed.

    latimes.com - News

  • In an economy that is still as rocky as the Grand Canyon, many people remain perplexed about what they should do if they find themselves without a job or on the verge of losing one soon.

    To cope with a lower income, short-term savings take priority

  • Some former Morgan Stanley executives remain perplexed by Zhu, who they say understood finance and investment banking, but worked odd late hours and appeared to rely too much on his father's political ties.

    Wall Street's Latest Gold Rush? The Booming China Market

  • Some former Morgan Stanley executives remain perplexed by Zhu, who they say understood finance and investment banking, but worked odd late hours and appeared to rely too much on his father's political ties.

    Wall Street's Latest Gold Rush? The Booming China Market

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • After reading the conversation on rumoured, I just thought this one might interest you as well.

    A similar reflection might be done about perplexed, I guess, at least in Italian.

    Some (rather knowledgeable) people try to use the verb perplimere (something like to perplime) as the infinitive of perplexed.

    The Accademia della Crusca states that it doesn't exist (it was made up for a comical TV show in the 90's), but as a back-formation it's very interesting indeed.

    Is perplex a back-formation as well?

    August 29, 2008

  • An interesting point. The OED notes that Latin had no verb *perplectere, only the adjective perplex-us, which looks like it's the past participle of such a verb, but might instead have come from per- "thoroughly" + the past participle plex-us of plect-ere "plait, interweave, entangle".

    The English adjective was originally 'perplex', with the other words (verb and 'perplexed') derived from it.

    August 29, 2008