Definition of baffle in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Totally bewilder or perplex.

    ‘an unexplained occurrence that baffled everyone’
    • ‘Now I know that everyone else is as baffled as me, the need for an explanation seems less pressing.’
    • ‘He quits his job only to come back, albeit reluctantly, when a series of grisly murders baffles the police force.’
    • ‘But none of the puzzles are so stupidly designed as to totally baffle players.’
    • ‘You get the distinct impression that the cops are as baffled by the intractability of it all as everyone else.’
    • ‘His abilities as an advocate evoked general admiration, though he did not succeed in baffling the prosecution.’
    • ‘What baffles me about not only this article, but millions like it, is that people who obviously know nothing about a subject nonetheless spout off about it.’
    • ‘They may come out with some piece of conceptual art that baffles everyone.’
    • ‘These are great examples of modern slang dreamed up in the playground as a new means of confusing already baffled parents.’
    • ‘He made sure it would be a draw last Sunday when he baffled everyone by not giving a blatant free to Cork in the last minute.’
    • ‘The sudden outbreak of illness since the beginning of the month is still baffling the experts.’
    • ‘Many critics doubted the wisdom in signing the Celtic player at all, but they were totally baffled at the decision to hose him with money.’
    • ‘Miss Woodhouse said she had been left distraught by the cold-blooded murder, which has baffled police.’
    • ‘Of course, there are those who seek not to enlighten, but to habitually and purposefully obfuscate in order to baffle a client or weary public into submission.’
    • ‘The murder has baffled police, who still have no motive and no suspect for the shooting.’
    • ‘It was an amazing turnabout that must have left Tramore baffled and bewildered as to how they left this game behind them.’
    • ‘Police baffled by the murder of a North Yorkshire man have turned to national TV in the hope of tracking down the killer.’
    • ‘They will be totally baffled and will need a lawyer to know what it means.’
    • ‘Fashion still baffles me and probably always will.’
    • ‘Would they do a complete about-face and baffle everyone?’
    • ‘Sometimes this country completely baffles me.’
    puzzling, bewildering, perplexing, mystifying, bemusing, confusing, unclear, difficult to understand, hard to understand, beyond one, above one's head
    perplex, puzzle, bewilder, mystify, bemuse, confuse, confound, nonplus, disconcert, throw, set someone thinking
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  • 2Restrain or regulate (a fluid, sound, etc.)

    ‘to baffle the noise further, I pad the gunwales’
    • ‘My pool equipment sits in a large concrete pit below ground, which hides the apparatus equipment from the landscape, and baffles the noise created by the electric pump motor.’
    • ‘The tortuous passage restricts or baffles the gas flow out of the glass assembly.’
    • ‘Access is via exterior galleries along the street frontages, with bathrooms and kitchens placed here to baffle the street noise.’
    • ‘The sound is just so much different, I get a baffled sound while he gets tons of bass.’
    • ‘The sensor baffling gear was still operating, but the visual disguise was gone.’
    • ‘The engines are humming my lullaby and their baffled sound comforts me.’
    • ‘I'd like to find something low mount that baffles the noise down.’
    • ‘The catalyst baffles the gas and assists in the rapid heating of the gas passing therethrough.’
    • ‘For the reflected field between the barriers, a barrier is assumed to act as a baffled sound source.’
    • ‘Coaches thought about using two punt returners in Cincinnati to baffle the elements and provide a safety net for struggling Mac Cody.’
    • ‘Its efficient design baffles the gas flow delivered to the ball for a gentle push against even the most fragile shells.’
    • ‘The muffler 108 baffles the noise from the exhaust ports 33 of the percussion unit 12 as well as from the first air motor exhaust port 106.’
    • ‘They are offered without the baffle but I prefer the baffled sound.’
    • ‘The exhaust outlet of the unit is connected to a baffled sound chamber within which a plurality of sound absorbing elements are positioned.’
    • ‘One variation of the baffled sound suppressor is known as the coaxial suppressor.’
    thwart, frustrate, foil, baulk, check, block, hinder, obstruct, bar, prevent, deflect, divert
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  • A device used to restrain the flow of a fluid, gas, or loose material or to prevent the spreading of sound or light in a particular direction.

    • ‘For example, on the second floor where most work takes place, baffles, telephone booths, and various wall design make for a quieter ambience, the further one walks from front to back.’
    • ‘In a second arrangement, the first gas supply opens into the central region above an upper baffle plate and the second gas supply opens into the periphery of a plenum between the upper baffle plate and a lower baffle plate.’
    • ‘The red man continued to burn into my retinas, or maybe it was the Windolene… the chemicals burned past my optic nerves and the red man became a small red arrowtip frog, crawling out of the black plastic baffles of the crossing lights.’
    • ‘The hinged flap on the front allows access to the baffle plate where the sawdust sits.’
    • ‘These comforters are considered to be three-season weight and the filling is held in place with the use of sewn in baffles which prevents the silk from moving and bunching.’
    • ‘The fuel tank incorporates baffles to prevent fuel slosh and to keep the pump submerged.’
    • ‘In the event of a case failure, these baffles would prevent most of the escaping gases from coming down the lug raceways.’
    • ‘After installing the five noise-reduction baffles, the noise level measured 101 dBA with background level of 95 dBA room average.’
    • ‘‘All we could do was direct a hose beyond the baffle plates through the gaps and try and remove as much as we possibly could’.’
    • ‘My nannites have commenced repair work but my sensor baffles have been compromised.’
    • ‘The baffle plate can have a nonuniform thickness and geometry-controlled openings to achieve a desired gas distribution.’
    • ‘Light in the integrating sphere undergoes hundreds of collisions with the sphere wall, baffle, and sample before being absorbed or collected at the measurement port.’
    • ‘He offered an innovative design solution which incorporated the use of low-angle overhead baffles, concrete floors, wing wall baffles and a bullet trap system.’
    • ‘Appropriately placed baffles ensure that the light is integrated by many bounces before it reaches the detector.’
    • ‘As the projectile leaves the muzzle the high velocity gases following the projectile strike the baffles of the muzzle brake and are deflected toward the rear and sides.’
    • ‘A baffle assembly including one or more baffle plates is located within the gas distribution chamber.’
    • ‘It is imagination that has been thrown at it rather than money: red painted breeze blocks, powder-blue painted plank ceiling, canvas sound baffles, cheapish chairs, ad-hoc air conditioning.’
    • ‘Air cooling depends heavily on the condition of baffles, or seals, inside the engine compartment that direct air flow to where it's needed.’
    • ‘Top quality bedding, which is more expensive but will last much longer, uses baffle box construction.’
    • ‘Based on this data, we added baffles to optimize the light aperture within the spectrometer, thereby eliminating unnecessary rays while maximizing optical throughput.’


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘cheat, deceive’): perhaps related to French bafouer ‘ridicule’ or obsolete French beffer ‘mock, deceive’.