Word Origin & History
1540s, "to disgrace," perhaps a Scottish respelling of bauchle "to disgrace publicly" (especially a perjured knight), which is probably related to Fr. bafouer "to abuse, hoodwink" (16c.), possibly from baf, a natural sound of disgust, like bah (cf. Ger. baff machen "to flabbergast"). Meaning "to bewilder,
confuse" is from 1640s; that of "to defeat someone's efforts" is from 1675. The noun sense of "shielding device" is first recorded 1881. Related: Baffled "confounded" (1650s); bafflement (1841).