Definition of confuse in English:

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Pronunciation: /kənˈfyo͞oz/


[with object]
1Cause (someone) to become bewildered or perplexed: past and present blurred together, confusing her still further
More example sentences
  • If his period of confinement have been very long, the prospect of release bewilders and confuses him.
  • It more than confused him, it bewildered him completely.
  • They can be extremely effective at distracting and confusing someone on the other side of an argument.
informal flummox, faze, stump, fox, discombobulate, bedazzle
bewildering, baffling, unclear, perplexing, puzzling, mystifying, disconcerting;
ambiguous, misleading, inconsistent, contradictory;
complex, complicated
1.1Make (something) more complex or less easy to understand: the points made by the authors confuse rather than clarify the issue
More example sentences
  • But complexity confuses a media that needs a simple plot.
  • And you confused it with complexity, which is not a part of the argument at all.
  • Campaigners confuse the issue with complex legal and medical argument.
complicate, muddle, jumble, overcomplicate, garble, blur, obscure, cloud
1.2Identify wrongly; mistake: a lot of people confuse a stroke with a heart attack purchasers might confuse the two products
More example sentences
  • We won't confuse our having made mistakes with our having no right to be here.
  • It is at this point that the issue of moral values tends to be identified, or confused with, religion.
  • However, it would be a mistake to confuse sensible with safe.
mistake for, take for, misinterpret as;
mix up with, muddle up with, confound with


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.

  • The early meanings of confuse were ‘rout’ and ‘bring to ruin’. The word comes via French from Latin confundere ‘mingle together, mix up’. Confound (Middle English) comes from the same word.

Words that rhyme with confuse

abuse, accuse, adieux, amuse, bemuse, billets-doux, blues, booze, bruise, choose, Clews, contuse, cruise, cruse, Cruz, diffuse, do's, Druze, effuse, enthuse, excuse, fuse (US fuze), Hughes, incuse, interfuse, lose, Mahfouz, mews, misuse, muse, news, ooze, Ouse, perfuse, peruse, rhythm-and-blues, ruse, schmooze, snooze, suffuse, Toulouse, transfuse, trews, use, Vaduz, Veracruz, who's, whose, youse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·fuse

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