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puzzling

[puhz-ling] /ˈpʌz lɪŋ/
adjective
1.
confusing or baffling:
a puzzling answer.
noun
2.
the skill or pastime of constructing or working crossword or other puzzles.
Origin
1590-1600
1590-1600; puzzle + -ing2
Related forms
puzzlingly, adverb

puzzle

[puhz-uh l] /ˈpʌz əl/
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
Related forms
puzzledly, adverb
puzzledness, noun
unpuzzle, verb (used with object), unpuzzled, unpuzzling.
Synonyms
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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for puzzling
  • Scientists have been puzzling over why giraffes have such spectacular necks for over a century and a half.
  • Paleontologists have been puzzling over the question for more than a century.
  • In several ways the play is puzzling, and disquieting as is none of the others.
  • Since in every case it harks back to the past, it cannot be of much help to us in understanding this puzzling influence.
  • Indeed, the professorial insistence on citing sources often seems arbitrary and puzzling to students.
  • In summary, the rankings game is puzzling and complicated.
  • Equally puzzling was the lack of a physical install disk.
  • But crouching geek-to-geek at a workbench, squinting into a puzzling keyhole, the differences didn't matter.
  • Hello there puzzlers and lovers of all puzzling things.
  • What remains puzzling, however, is why human regeneration would have been turned off in the first place.
British Dictionary definitions for puzzling

puzzle

/ˈpʌzəl/
verb
1.
to perplex or be perplexed
2.
(intransitive) foll by over. to attempt the solution (of); ponder (about): he puzzled over her absence
3.
(transitive) usually foll by out. to solve by mental effort: he puzzled out the meaning of the inscription
noun
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.
a toy, game, or question presenting a problem that requires skill or ingenuity for its solution See jigsaw puzzle, Chinese puzzle
Derived Forms
puzzling, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
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 puzzling
adj.

"bewildering," 1660s, present participle adjective from puzzle (v.). Related: Puzzlingly.

puzzle

v.

1590s, pusle "bewilder, confound," possibly frequentative of pose (v.) in obsolete sense of "perplex" (cf. nuzzle from nose). Related: Puzzled; puzzling.

n.

c.1600, "state of being puzzled," from puzzle (v.); 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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