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[mis-tuh-fahy] /ˈmɪs təˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), mystified, mystifying.
to perplex (a person) by playing upon the person's credulity; bewilder purposely.
to involve in mystery or obscurity.
Origin of mystify
1805-15; < French mystifier, equivalent to mysti- (irregular combining form of mystique mystic or mystère mystery1) + -fier -fy
Related forms
mystification, noun
mystifiedly, adverb
mystifier, noun
mystifyingly, adverb
overmystification, noun
overmystify, verb (used with object), overmystified, overmystifying.
unmystified, adjective
1. fool, mislead, elude, puzzle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mystification
Historical Examples
  • Balzac returns to this subject so often and so emphatically that one half believes him to be the victim of his own mystification.

  • Mr Dorrit stood rooted to the carpet, a statue of mystification.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • She wished the farmer good-night; and he drove off, no longer mystified, but dumfoundered with what had removed his mystification.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost William Frend De Morgan
  • The gentleman, as I have told you before, seems devoted to mystification.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • "I've taken a lozenge," he whimsically retorted, expressing a very human delight in our mystification.

    The Shadow World Hamlin Garland
  • I went over the house, and nothing can express my mystification.

  • But Mrs. Vernon shook her head doubtfully, while Julie shouted with delight at their mystification.

    Girl Scouts at Dandelion Camp Lillian Elizabeth Roy
  • It was obvious the expert was enjoying the lad's mystification.

  • When this term “humours” became popular, it sunk into a mystification.

    Amenities of Literature Isaac Disraeli
  • To have been the object of such a mystification, he, a professor of dancing and deportment!

    Godfrey Morgan Jules Verne
British Dictionary definitions for mystification


verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
to confuse, bewilder, or puzzle
to make mysterious or obscure
Derived Forms
mystification, noun
mystifier, noun
mystifying, adjective
mystifyingly, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from French mystifier, from mystèremystery1 or mystiquemystic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mystification

1815, from French mystification, noun of action from mystifier (see mystify).



1814, from French mystifier (1772), a verb formed irregularly from mystique "a mystic" (see mystic (adj.)) + -fier (see -fy). Related: Mystified; mystifying.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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