Definition of perplexity in US English:

perplexity

noun

  • 1Inability to deal with or understand something complicated or unaccountable.

    ‘she paused in perplexity’
    • ‘Gradually the look of perplexity was replaced by the slightest of smirks as the boys' minds took in what was happening.’
    • ‘All they are trying to do is bring perplexity and division among the residents.’
    • ‘In my perplexity, I rang the council for clarification.’
    • ‘You can see perplexity and anger in their stance, their walk, their whole demeanor.’
    • ‘The defining images of the tournament so far have been ones of American disappointment, frustration and sheer perplexity at the force of their rivals.’
    • ‘Confusion and perplexity characterise the political establishment everywhere.’
    • ‘The ban has been met with a combination of anger and perplexity.’
    • ‘For all their cheerful harmony, his pictures were painted in solitude, with perplexity and misgiving until he saw them in their completed form.’
    • ‘‘I guess I'd say we're a metal band,’ he says with some perplexity.’
    • ‘The true perplexity of it came clear several days later, when we were driving back from a two-day sidetrip to Waterton National Park.’
    • ‘We may come in love and sympathy, perhaps with perplexity or even anger, but we come to share and for a time of quiet reflection.’
    • ‘The ambivalence from the clash of voices results in mental and emotional states of perplexity.’
    • ‘But my perplexity went well beyond the lack of easy egalitarianism.’
    • ‘The perplexity of the public has grown in recent weeks.’
    • ‘The sensory overload of such prose inspires perplexity and gives little assurance on rereading.’
    • ‘I pointed that out to her and watched her face change from its look of indignant perplexity to a very sad and hurt confusion.’
    • ‘‘No I didn't,’ Duke replied with a look of perplexity.’
    • ‘They gazed at her work with puzzled perplexity.’
    • ‘In the meantime, a strange mood of perplexity and foreboding has settled on Europe.’
    • ‘Confessions of perplexity are, it is assumed, not wanted.’
    confusion, bewilderment, puzzlement, bafflement, incomprehension, lack of comprehension, mystification, bemusement, befuddlement
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    1. 1.1usually perplexities A complicated or baffling situation or thing.
      ‘the perplexities of international relations’
      • ‘Anyone might be confused by these ongoing perplexities.’
      • ‘A dominant assumption in all forms, however, is that the clients have, within themselves, the answer to their perplexities and conflicts.’
      • ‘Indeed, the best interludes are scenes where teenagers capture the perplexities of adolescence with a throwaway observation.’
      • ‘Military members are real people living at a particular time in history and experiencing the perplexities of changing, clashing values.’
      • ‘I needed to find someone who knew the perplexities of managing championship greens.’
      • ‘People there appear much more occupied with the daily problem of survival than the perplexities of decommissioning.’
      • ‘Because the characters' moral perplexities are so carefully rendered throughout, they are captivating to the end.’
      • ‘The novel explores the meaning of enlightenment, and the perplexities of reconciling the ineffable and the everyday.’
      • ‘I saw for the first time the anxieties, stresses and perplexities of war.’
      • ‘Yet, people are more prone to make mistakes when sleep deprivation and all the other perplexities of the race take their accumulative toll.’
      • ‘But a recent meditation in a deserted Moroccan line-up led me to ponder the perplexities of relative perfection.’
      • ‘Outside the train, the concert footage is mingled with modern-day interviews, much of them regarding the political perplexities at the time.’
      • ‘But to talk in this way only invites new perplexities.’
      • ‘His mind was a battleground of perplexities and implications.’
      • ‘Delia's stepmother is dealing with strange perplexities of her own.’
      • ‘Minimally, when this book is open, philosophical perplexities are there, right there, in front of readers' eyes.’
      • ‘Our academic knowledge, whether material or religious, does not in any way help solve the perplexities of life.’
      • ‘These contentious issues concern two perplexities in particular.’
      • ‘Both economists were fascinated by the perplexities of elections and voting under simple majority rule.’
      • ‘The stock market and its vast perplexities were given a great respect from this ancient crone, whose understandings did not reach into that field.’
      complexity, complication, intricacy, problem, difficulty, dilemma, mystery, puzzle, enigma, paradox, obscurity
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  • 2archaic An entangled state.

    ‘the dense perplexity of dwarf palm, garlanded creepers, glossy undergrowth’
    tangle, web, morass, jungle, snarl, twist, turn, complexity, confusion, complication, entanglement, convolution, intricacy
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French perplexite or late Latin perplexitas, from Latin perplexus ‘entangled, confused’ (see perplex).

Pronunciation

perplexity

/pərˈplɛksədi//pərˈpleksədē/