Definition of boggle in US English:



[no object]informal
  • 1(of a person or a person's mind) be astonished or overwhelmed when trying to imagine something.

    ‘the mind boggles at the spectacle’
    • ‘The mind boggles, as would their's, as should your editors.’
    • ‘Wan was 15 when she mastered that art, and the mind boggles trying to imagine a teenager with no hands and half an arm managing this feat.’
    • ‘The mind boggles when I consider where this could lead.’
    • ‘That's why my mind boggles when I see or hear people talking about American Idol.’
    • ‘The mind boggles as to why the community was not consulted in the first place.’
    • ‘There are so many possibilities for double entendre there; the mind boggles.’
    • ‘Not for the first time, my friends, the mind boggles.’
    • ‘The mind boggles when confronted with issues such as income tax law, health service regulations, social welfare entitlements and family law.’
    • ‘There is so much traffic here the mind boggles.’
    • ‘That's why my mind boggles when I hear about things like the Roadsworth trial.’
    • ‘The mind boggles, and just wants to think about something else instead.’
    • ‘Imagine what the fiend has done over the course of a year - the mind boggles!’
    • ‘The mind boggles, and there is nothing to suggest that residents could have any input other than those elected members who recently ruined the evening economy by introducing such exorbitant parking charges.’
    • ‘When respected performers like her take five million dollars from Chanel No.5 to transform into little more than a big-screen Avon Lady, however, the mind truly boggles.’
    • ‘Over a year after the fact, my mind still boggles that it was ever written.’
    • ‘League tables for teachers, prize-giving ceremonies for teachers… the mind boggles.’
    • ‘The mind boggles, and so, I imagine, do the eyes.’
    • ‘Marlene Dietrich as the Catwoman… the mind boggles.’
    • ‘We now have a raft of new ‘universities’ that offer degrees in such a vast range of subjects that the mind boggles!’
    • ‘The mind literally boggles as you try to decipher the narrative that might have created this collision of objects.’
    marvel, wonder, be astonished, be astounded, be amazed, be filled with amazement, be overwhelmed, be shocked, be staggered, be bowled over, be startled
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    1. 1.1with object Cause (a person or a person's mind) to be astonished or overwhelmed.
      ‘the inflated salary of a CEO boggles the mind’
      ‘the total was a boggling 1.5 trillion miles’
      • ‘The concept of a 3D David Letterman boggles the mind.’
      • ‘And here, he offers offers some geopolitical naivety and moral equivalency that simply boggles the mind.’
      • ‘Sharon's long standing demand for seven days of total quiet has been so utterly unrealistic it boggles the mind.’
      • ‘But the fact that we spend so much money on an unlikely problem that has barely affected us, and then question money to be spent on ill evacuees just boggles the mind.’
      • ‘It boggles the mind that it takes so long for repairs.’
      • ‘Yes, I know the courts will never let this argument stand, but it's the fact that someone is trying to pass this off as a legitimate defense that boggles the mind.’
      • ‘The naming of a culprit by a police force which has not amassed enough evidence to warrant an arrest, never mind charges, is so damaging to fairness and due process that it boggles the mind.’
      • ‘But then everything in this excerpt is so narrow-minded and wrong, it just boggles the mind that a 31-year-old could have said it.’
      • ‘The audacity of it boggles the mind.’
      • ‘What boggles the mind, Cynthia, I guess is we can understand anyone being attracted to another faith.’
      • ‘The city has few ‘vistas’ that tourists easily identify and the complex of cultural buildings around the Potsdamer Platz boggles the mind.’
      • ‘The dialogue was so hopelessly unfunny that it boggles the mind.’
      • ‘Such malevolent megalomania boggles the mind.’
      • ‘What human behavior boggles the mind of Dr. Phil?’
      • ‘It boggles the mind that this evil organization prospers as it does.’
      • ‘But what Activision has done with the engine boggles the mind.’
      • ‘It boggles the mind to wonder why the producers didn't get a real wrestler like Bill Goldberg (who has a small part playing himself) to portray Jimmy King.’
      • ‘The sheer amount of time and patience it must have taken to painstakingly draw out these complex pieces boggles the mind, which can be said for another series he created from the Surrey Suburban Project.’
      • ‘What really boggles the mind, though, is the question of why so many women submit applications to date him after they know what he is.’
      • ‘The scale of the event boggles the mind and is a measure of the man's imagination and the cast circles of high-rolling friends who answered his invitation.’
      astonish, astound, amaze, fill with amazement, overwhelm, shock, startle, fill with wonder
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    2. 1.2boggle at (of a person) hesitate or be anxious at.
      ‘you never boggle at plain speaking’
      • ‘I'll leave that to the activists, and just boggle at the sheer pointlessness.’
      • ‘His first employers thought a Cajun audience might boggle at a journalist called ‘Wiltfong’.’
      • ‘I see houses being showcased and toured on Channel 4's neverending parade of property programmes and I boggle at the fact that nobody who appears on any of them ever seems to have any stuff.’
      • ‘I understand that right now councils throughout the country have problems with regard to enforcing the swimming pool regulations, and are boggling at the thought of additional dog regulations.’
      • ‘Whilst watching a soap opera, and boggling at the revelation that a character had gone away and come back with a changed face, her puzzled six-year-old tugged on her skirt hem.’
      demur, jib, shrink from, flinch from, recoil from, hang back from, waver, falter, dither, baulk, vacillate about, think twice about, be reluctant about, have scruples about, scruple about, have misgivings about, have qualms about, be chary of, hesitate to, be shy about, be coy about, shy away from
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Late 16th century: probably of dialect origin and related to bogle and bogey.