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[baf-uh l] /ˈbæf əl/
verb (used with object), baffled, baffling.
to confuse, bewilder, or perplex:
He was baffled by the technical language of the instructions.
to frustrate or confound; thwart by creating confusion or bewilderment.
to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).
to equip with a baffle or baffles.
Obsolete. to cheat; trick.
verb (used without object), baffled, baffling.
to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.
something that balks, checks, or deflects.
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.
any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.
Origin of baffle
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
1. See thwart. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for bafflingly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They were such eyes as could be dogged and stern as flint or deep and bafflingly gentle like mossy waters.

    The Tempering Charles Neville Buck
  • Seen near at hand, it was observed to be bafflingly simple in appearance.

  • One or two hurled their tomahawks, but Kiopo's movements were so bafflingly swift that it was like trying to wound the wind.

    Dusty Star Olaf Baker
  • Her eyes, over which heavy lashes drooped diffidently, were bafflingly deep, as with rich colour drowned in duskiness.

    The Roof Tree Charles Neville Buck
  • One of these caught his eye; it took on a bafflingly familiar appearance.

    The Whirligig of Time Wayland Wells Williams
  • Over her face crept one of those mysterious transformations that made her so bafflingly fascinating to him.

    The Grain Of Dust David Graham Phillips
British Dictionary definitions for bafflingly


verb (transitive)
to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)
to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
to provide with a baffle
(obsolete) to cheat or trick
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 bafflingly



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.


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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