Definitions

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

  • n. The state of being perplexed or puzzled.
  • n. The state of being intricate or complicated: "the perplexity of life in twentieth-century America” ( Daniel J. Boorstin).
  • n. Something that perplexes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state or quality of being perplexed; puzzled or confused.
  • n. Something that perplexes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being perplexed or puzzled; complication; intricacy; entanglement; distraction of mind through doubt or difficulty; embarrassment; bewilderment; doubt.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An intricate or involved state or condition; the character of being intricate, complicated, or involved.
  • n. The state of being perplexed; distraction of mind through doubt or difficulty; embarrassment; bewilderment.
  • n. A perplexing circumstance, state of things, or conjuncture of affairs; whatever is a source of distraction or puzzlement of mind.

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

  • n. trouble or confusion resulting from complexity

Etymologies

From Middle French perplexité or post-classical Latin perplexitas ‘entanglement’, from perplexus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Joe queried, glancing in perplexity from the picture to 'Frisco Kid's face.

    The Cruise of the "Dazzler"

  • Under any other circumstances, Romola would have been sensitive to the appeal at the beginning of Savonarola's speech; but at this moment she was so utterly in antagonism with him, that what he called perplexity seemed to her sophistry and doubleness; and as he went on, his words only fed that flame of indignation, which now again, more fully than ever before, lit up the memory of all his mistakes, and made her trust in him seem to have been a purblind delusion.

    Romola

  • So George W. Bush's visage of belligerent perplexity is currently airbrushed out of the special collector's edition commemorative display plate version of the past, because ... well, because not only was he a blistering embarrassment to the conservative movement, but because his policies are the exact ones they want to vote back into office two weeks from now.

    Ad mire

  • Growth, some of the economists are conceding in perplexity, has been "decoupled" from widely shared prosperity.

    The booming Bush economy?

  • If I may quote what I said in perplexity a couple of years ago:

    Election 2004

  • When the guy shook his head, maybe he was shaking his head in perplexity at HIMSELF.

    Normal

  • Delvile endeavoured to laugh away their fears, assuring them he should be well the next day, and representing in ridiculous terms the perplexity of Dr Lyster to contrive some prescription for him.

    Cecilia

  • The steed stood still at the door and Hasan alighted and bridged the bridle over the saddle-bow113; whereupon the steed entered the cavern, whilst the rider abode without, as the old man had charged him, pondering the issue of his case in perplexity and distraction and unknowing what would befal him. —

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the poor man aforesaid was confounded at his own boldness, when beholding the goodliness of the place and the crowd of servants and attendants; so drawing back, in perplexity and fear for his life sat down apart in a place afar off. where none should see him.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • The physician was silent awhile in perplexity and his colour changed and he bowed his head and made no reply; whereupon she said to him, “Ho, sir doctor, speak or doff thy dress.”

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

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