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perplex

[per-pleks] /pərˈplɛks/
verb (used with object)
1.
to cause to be puzzled or bewildered over what is not understood or certain; confuse mentally:
Her strange response perplexed me.
2.
to make complicated or confused, as a matter or question.
3.
to hamper with complications, confusion, or uncertainty.
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; back formation from perplexed
Related forms
perplexer, noun
perplexingly, adverb
unperplexing, adjective
Synonyms
1. mystify, confound. 2. tangle, snarl. 3. vex, annoy, bother.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for perplex
  • These are questions that perplex every student of Arabic.
  • After a slow opening that may perplex new readers, the action soon picks up.
  • I'll perplex him with my slow ball.
  • And at the top of the list of questions that perplex investors most is how to determine an investment's cost basis.
  • The gap between banks and the real economy continues to perplex.
  • And while with familiarity such ideas become accepted, there are new ones to perplex us.
  • All night no ruder air perplex.
  • These are the little questions that perplex me.
  • There was little to alarm or perplex.
  • The vacillation had to perplex expert and casual observers alike.
British Dictionary definitions for perplex

perplex

/pəˈplɛks/
verb (transitive)
1.
to puzzle; bewilder; confuse
2.
to complicate: to perplex an issue
Word Origin
C15: from obsolete perplex (adj) intricate, from Latin perplexus entangled, from per- (thoroughly) + plectere to entwine
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 perplex
v.

late 14c. as an adjective, "perplexed, puzzled, bewildered," from Latin perplexus "involved, confused, intricate;" but Latin had no corresponding verb *perplectere. The Latin compound would be per "through" (see per) + plexus "entangled," past participle of plectere "to twine, braid, fold" (see complex (adj.)).

The form of the English adjective shifted to perplexed by late 15c., probably to conform to other past participle adjectives. The verb is latest attested of the group, in 1590s, evidently a back-formation from the adjective. Related: Perplexing, which well describes the history of the word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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