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confuse

[kuh n-fyooz] /kənˈfyuz/
verb (used with object), confused, confusing.
1.
to perplex or bewilder:
The flood of questions confused me.
2.
to make unclear or indistinct:
The rumors and angry charges tended to confuse the issue.
3.
to fail to distinguish between; associate by mistake; confound:
to confuse dates; He always confuses the twins.
4.
to disconcert or abash:
His candor confused her.
5.
to combine without order; jumble; disorder:
Try not to confuse the papers on the desk.
6.
Archaic. to bring to ruin or naught.
Origin
back formation from confused (since early 19th century), Middle English confused < Anglo-French confus (with -ed -ed2 maintaining participial sense) < Latin confūsus, past participle of confundere; see confound
Related forms
confusable, adjective
confusability, noun
confusably, adverb
confusedly
[kuh n-fyoo-zid-lee, -fyoozd-] /kənˈfyu zɪd li, -ˈfyuzd-/ (Show IPA),
adverb
confusedness, noun
preconfuse, verb (used with object), preconfused, preconfusing.
preconfusedly, adverb
reconfuse, verb (used with object), reconfused, reconfusing.
superconfused, adjective
unconfusable, adjective
unconfusably, adverb
unconfused, adjective
unconfusedly, adverb
Synonyms
1. mystify, nonplus. Confuse, disconcert, embarrass imply temporary interference with the clear working of one's mind. To confuse is to produce a general bewilderment: to confuse someone by giving complicated directions. To disconcert is to disturb one's mind by irritation, perplexities, etc.: to disconcert someone by asking irrelevant questions. To embarrass is to cause one to be ill at ease or uncomfortable, so that one's usual judgment and presence of mind desert one: to embarrass someone by unexpected rudeness. 4. mortify, shame. 5. disarray, disarrange, disturb.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for confuse
  • One should not confuse the improbable with the impossible.
  • Many people confuse older styles of circular intersections with modern roundabouts.
  • The birds and bees rarely confuse the flowers, and the flowers almost never interbreed in nature.
  • There are plenty of fine folks, such as those mentioned above who are not so afflicted that they confuse faith with fact.
  • Don't confuse it with synthetic latex, which is derived from petroleum.
  • But some of the materials in the rover itself could also release methane and confuse the sensors.
  • Opponents of science can also use words to confuse matters when it comes to scientific education.
  • He tries to confuse the machine with an illegal move.
  • When threatened, a coral snake will curl the tip of its tail to confuse its attacker as to which end is its head.
  • Beware those who would confuse the latter with the former.
British Dictionary definitions for confuse

confuse

/kənˈfjuːz/
verb (transitive)
1.
to bewilder; perplex
2.
to mix up (things, ideas, etc); jumble
3.
to make unclear: he confused his talk with irrelevant details
4.
to fail to recognize the difference between; mistake (one thing) for another
5.
to disconcert; embarrass
6.
to cause to become disordered: the enemy ranks were confused by gas
Derived Forms
confusable, adjective, noun
confusability, noun
Word Origin
C18: back formation from confused, from Latin confūsus mingled together, from confundere to pour together; see confound
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 confuse
v.

1550s, in literal sense "mix or mingle things so as to render the elements indistinguishable;" attested from mid-18c. in active, figurative sense of "discomfit in mind or feeling;" not in general use until 19c., taking over senses formerly belonging to confound, dumbfound, flabbergast etc. The past participle confused (q.v.) is attested much earlier (serving as an alternative past tense to confound), and the verb here might be a back-formation from it. Related: Confusing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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