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baffle

[baf-uh l] /ˈbæf əl/
verb (used with object), baffled, baffling.
1.
to confuse, bewilder, or perplex:
He was baffled by the technical language of the instructions.
2.
to frustrate or confound; thwart by creating confusion or bewilderment.
3.
to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).
4.
to equip with a baffle or baffles.
5.
Obsolete. to cheat; trick.
verb (used without object), baffled, baffling.
6.
to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.
noun
7.
something that balks, checks, or deflects.
8.
an artificial obstruction for checking or deflecting the flow of gases (as in a boiler), sounds (as in the loudspeaker system of a radio or hi-fi set), light (as in a darkroom), etc.
9.
any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; 1910-15 for def 8; perhaps < Scots bauchle to disgrace, treat with contempt, equivalent to bauch (see baff) + -le
Related forms
bafflement, noun
baffler, noun
baffling, adjective
bafflingly, adverb
bafflingness, noun
unbaffled, adjective
unbaffling, adjective
unbafflingly, adverb
Synonyms
1. See thwart.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for baffle
  • Dark matter, the substance no one has ever seen, continues to baffle cosmologists.
  • To baffle opponents, grandmasters create new, unexpected openings not found in chess literature.
  • Economic statistics bemuse and baffle in equal measure.
  • No need for all the high brow long terminology baffle science too.
  • Many other common computer-age terms can baffle these programs.
  • Yet despite the country's remarkable transformation, it can still baffle foreign investors.
  • The first effect was to baffle and dismay the financial markets.
  • Even with the power of antibiotics, strep infections continue to baffle physicians.
  • The process baffled me then and continues to baffle me today.
  • What continues to baffle me is why anybody would ever have a trading account with these houses.
British Dictionary definitions for baffle

baffle

/ˈbæfəl/
verb (transitive)
1.
to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
2.
to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)
3.
to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
4.
to provide with a baffle
5.
(obsolete) to cheat or trick
noun
6.
Also called baffle board, baffle plate. a plate or mechanical device designed to restrain or regulate the flow of a fluid, the emission of light or sound, or the distribution of sound, esp in a loudspeaker or microphone
Derived Forms
bafflement, noun
baffler, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Scottish dialect bachlen to condemn publicly; perhaps related to French bafouer to disgrace
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 baffle
v.

1540s, "to disgrace," perhaps a Scottish respelling of bauchle "to disgrace publicly" (especially a perjured knight), which is probably related to French bafouer "to abuse, hoodwink" (16c.), possibly from baf, a natural sound of disgust, like bah (cf. German baff machen "to flabbergast"). Meaning "to bewilder, confuse" is from 1640s; that of "to defeat someone's efforts" is from 1670s. Related: Baffled; baffling.

n.

"shielding device," 1881, from baffle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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