Definition of confuse in English:



[with object]
  • 1Make (someone) bewildered or perplexed.

    ‘past and present blurred together, confusing her still further’
    • ‘This morning confused her and threw her off entirely, nothing quite added up.’
    • ‘I have no idea, but I'm just confused as to whether or not I should avoid that person from now on.’
    • ‘Then his eyes fell on the two things on his person that confused him the most.’
    • ‘I was confused for a second before I remembered he had thrown it so haphazardly into the backseat.’
    • ‘She is then baffled because he is confused by other Big Words.’
    • ‘They can be extremely effective at distracting and confusing someone on the other side of an argument.’
    • ‘He throws everything into the mix with the lone goal of confusing us.’
    • ‘When she smiled reassuringly, he threw his head back and laughed, which confused her, but she didn't show it.’
    • ‘It confuses me that people think this is terrible.’
    • ‘What really confuses me is why people buy cell phone covers that flash.’
    • ‘One thing that does continually confuse me though is people who get married more than once.’
    • ‘Most straight people confuse me and I really am unable to comprehend them.’
    • ‘It more than confused him, it bewildered him completely.’
    • ‘If his period of confinement have been very long, the prospect of release bewilders and confuses him.’
    • ‘As a progressive and an atheist, Christians confuse me as much as the next person.’
    • ‘What still confuses me though is why the people who protest about it every year insist on staying there.’
    • ‘When I was young I thought everyone knew so it confused me when people confided in me, like it was some great secret, that ‘everything happens for a reason’.’
    • ‘It confused her, but then people usually confused her.’
    • ‘Many fantasy epics give us colorful enemies with distinct personalities to confuse us.’
    • ‘He was avoiding the subject, and was using characters he'd played to distract and confuse her.’
    bewilder, baffle, mystify, bemuse, perplex, puzzle, confound, befog, nonplus, disconcert, throw, set someone thinking
    bewildering, baffling, difficult, difficult to understand, unclear, perplexing, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, disconcerting
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    1. 1.1 Make (something) more complex or less easy to understand.
      ‘the points made by the authors confuse rather than clarify the issue’
      • ‘Look closely at the editorial: don't they completely avoid and try to confuse the point?’
      • ‘It is at his home that she meets this woman, who is to complicate and confuse other relationships in the book, and finally draw in on all of them a terrifying wave of scandal.’
      • ‘God did not destroy the tower they were building; rather, God confused their language, and they were scattered.’
      • ‘You may feel the first of these tends to confuse the issue rather than illuminate it, and you may be right.’
      • ‘But complexity confuses a media that needs a simple plot.’
      • ‘Campaigners confuse the issue with complex legal and medical argument.’
      • ‘Thus any attempts to analyse the flux through the pathway are confused by the complications of the different pools.’
      • ‘And you confused it with complexity, which is not a part of the argument at all.’
      • ‘His increasingly complex relationship with her only confuses the plot and detracts from the central thread.’
      • ‘The lovely album, for instance, sees new accents improving a song, rather than confusing it.’
      • ‘He has so confused the issue we would have to be complete idiots to imagine that we would get anything useful out of halting legal action.’
      • ‘When God decided to beget a divine, yet human son who would occupy a rung above the angels, he changed, complicated and irrevocably confused the hierarchy.’
      • ‘It is very easy to confuse questions as to what is the jurisdiction of a court and how that jurisdiction should be exercised.’
      complicate, muddle, jumble, garble, make complex, make difficult, make more difficult, blur, obscure, make unclear, cloud, obfuscate
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    2. 1.2 Identify wrongly; mistake.
      ‘a lot of people confuse a stroke with a heart attack’
      ‘purchasers might confuse the two products’
      • ‘A national identity should not be confused with individual or personal characteristics.’
      • ‘It is easy to confuse the apples of reporting with the oranges of privilege.’
      • ‘First, no one with half a brain could possibly confuse the two products.’
      • ‘It is important that reserves and production should not be confused.’
      • ‘However, it would be a mistake to confuse sensible with safe.’
      • ‘It's very easy to confuse the two which is why some people may tell you that I speak in a Long Island tongue.’
      • ‘The humor is uncomfortable on purpose, but it's very easy to confuse it with a humor that's unsure and amateur.’
      • ‘We won't confuse our having made mistakes with our having no right to be here.’
      • ‘People don't usually forget our names, or get them wrong, or confuse us with other people.’
      • ‘It was the fatal mistake of the medieval church to confuse and confound the two kingdoms.’
      • ‘It is easy to confuse greatness in a specialized field with skill in writing about it.’
      • ‘I've already blogged on how easily identity gets confused in systems that don't rely on turning us all into numbers after all: my namesake was refused a credit card.’
      • ‘It's easy to confuse this prudent conservatism with adherence to principle, but that would be a mistake.’
      • ‘The chances of you finding stuff on your credit file that confuses you with other people, places you at addresses you left years ago, shows you owing money you don't and all manner of other sins you haven't committed is alarmingly high.’
      • ‘Several other production problems can be confused with wheat streak, especially in the early stages of symptom development.’
      • ‘I think I'm separate enough from this character where people aren't going to confuse us.’
      • ‘It is at this point that the issue of moral values tends to be identified, or confused with, religion.’
      • ‘She also said she was offended when people confused her with her neurotic character.’
      • ‘It's easy to confuse protagonists with their authors.’
      • ‘The authors confuse their contempt of the opposition with an accurate apprehension of the opposition.’
      mix up, muddle up, confound
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Middle English (in the sense ‘rout, bring to ruin’): from Old French confus, from Latin confusus, past participle of confundere ‘mingle together’ (see confound). Originally all senses of the verb were passive, and therefore appeared only as the past participle confused; the active voice occurred rarely until the 19th century when it began to replace confound.