follow Dictionary.com

Get our exclusive Word of the Day images!

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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for baffled
  • The problem what becomes of the pins has hitherto baffled the mightiest scientific intellects.
  • But how they arrived on the island has baffled scientists for centuries.
  • So many fans of market discipline are baffled by the drubbing of the rupiah.
  • Why the flu is worse in winter than summer has long baffled scientists.
  • Yet the purpose of this straightforward anatomical arrangement has baffled researchers.
  • Suzanne was stuck up on the hill with nothing to watch except a group of baffled scientists pacing around.
  • Last spring a baffled user posted a query about why her ferrets-for-sale ad disappeared.
  • They would argue, contradict one another, and leave you more baffled than ever.
  • The people who run football are baffled by the trend.
  • Compare the information on these maps in your mind to come up with an answer for your baffled astronaut.
British Dictionary definitions for baffled

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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for baffled

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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for baffle

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for baffled

16
18
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with baffled

Nearby words for baffled