puzzle

[puhz-uhl]
noun
1.
a toy, problem, or other contrivance designed to amuse by presenting difficulties to be solved by ingenuity or patient effort.
2.
something puzzling; a puzzling question, matter, or person.
3.
a puzzled or perplexed condition; bewilderment.
4.
a crossword puzzle: Did you do the puzzle in the newspaper today?
verb (used with object), puzzled, puzzling.
6.
to put (someone) at a loss; mystify; confuse; baffle: Her attitude puzzles me.
7.
to frustrate or confound, as the understanding; perplex: The problem puzzled him for weeks.
8.
to exercise (oneself, one's brain, etc.) over some problem or matter.
9.
Archaic. to make intricate or complicated.
verb (used without object), puzzled, puzzling.
10.
to be perplexed or confused.
11.
to ponder or study over some perplexing problem or matter.
Verb phrases
12.
puzzle out, to solve by careful study or effort: I was unable to puzzle out the message.

Origin:
1585–95; origin uncertain

puzzledly, adverb
puzzledness, noun
unpuzzle, verb (used with object), unpuzzled, unpuzzling.


2. Puzzle, riddle, enigma refer to something baffling or confusing that is to be solved. A puzzle is a question or problem, intricate enough to be perplexing to the mind; it is sometimes a contrivance made purposely perplexing to test one's ingenuity: a crossword puzzle; The reason for their behavior remains a puzzle. A riddle is an intentionally obscure statement or question, the meaning of or answer to which is to be arrived at only by guessing: the famous riddle of the Sphinx. Enigma originally meaning riddle, now refers to some baffling problem with connotations of mysteriousness: He will always be an enigma to me. 6. confound.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
puzzle (ˈpʌzəl)
 
vb (foll by over) (usually foll by out)
1.  to perplex or be perplexed
2.  to attempt the solution (of); ponder (about): he puzzled over her absence
3.  to solve by mental effort: he puzzled out the meaning of the inscription
 
n
4.  a person or thing that puzzles
5.  a problem that cannot be easily or readily solved
6.  the state or condition of being puzzled
7.  jigsaw puzzle See Chinese puzzle a toy, game, or question presenting a problem that requires skill or ingenuity for its solution
 
[C16: of unknown origin]
 
'puzzling
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

puzzle
1590s, pusle "bewilder, confound," possibly frequentative of pose (v.) in obsolete sense of "perplex" (cf. nuzzle from nose). The noun meaning "state of being puzzled" is recorded from c.1600, from the verb; meaning "perplexing question" is from 1650s; that of "a toy contrived to test one's ingenuity"
is from 1814.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for puzzles
The riddler is obsessed with riddles, puzzles and word games.
Problems are experienced not only as puzzles but as objects of beauty.
In cryptic crosswords, often called cryptics, the clues are puzzles in themselves.
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