Definition of confusion in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kənˈfyo͞oZHən/


1Lack of understanding; uncertainty: there seems to be some confusion about which system does what he cleared up the confusion over the party’s policy
More example sentences
  • There will also be psychological confusion about such happenings.
  • However, there is uncertainty and confusion about the nature and purpose of global education.
  • This reflects a moral uncertainty and confusion about the war more than it does the reality of danger on the ground.
uncertainty, incertitude, unsureness, doubt, ignorance
formal dubiety
1.1A situation of panic; a breakdown of order: the shaken survivors retreated in confusion
More example sentences
  • The knights on the bridge behind were thrown into confusion, panicked, and retreated.
  • Even in these testing situations, panic and confusion ran high when someone hit the water.
  • That's the way to create the impression of confusion, panic and chaos.
disorder, disarray, disorganization, untidiness, chaos, mayhem;
turmoil, tumult, disruption, upheaval, uproar, muddle, mess, shambles
informal three-ring circus
1.2A disorderly jumble: all I can see is a confusion of brown cardboard boxes
More example sentences
  • Then I got tangled in a confusion of traffic jams, roadworks, diversions and obscure road signs.
  • Breath tumbles invisibly between the teeth, a confusion of molecules.
  • This is a complicated text in which time and space overlap, while images and metaphors intertwine, resulting in a confusion of characters and places.
jumble, muddle, mess, heap, tangle
informal shambles
2The state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something: she looked about her in confusion
More example sentences
  • They were both breathing quickly and her mind was outrageous in confusion and wonder.
  • ‘Thanks,’ she said before she disappeared out the door in the back, mind whirling in confusion.
  • They grow up in confusion and bewilderment as children, then often pass into denial as young adults and sometimes remain frightened even into old age.
bewilderment, bafflement, perplexity, puzzlement, mystification, befuddlement;
shock, daze, wonder, wonderment, astonishment
informal head-scratching, discombobulation
2.1The mistaking of one person or thing for another: there is some confusion between “unlawful” and “illegal” most of the errors are reasonable confusions between similar words or sequences of words
More example sentences
  • The moral confusion created by mistaking preferences for moral judgements has brought a note of hysteria into the consideration of modern Scotland and its complex moral issues.
  • It leads to confusion when credentials are mistaken for credibility, or competence for character.
  • These efforts flow from a fundamental error - confusion between two very distinct constitutional realms.


Middle English: from Latin confusio(n-), from the verb confundere 'mingle together' (see confuse).

Words that rhyme with confusion

allusion, collusion, conclusion, contusion, delusion, diffusion, effusion, exclusion, extrusion, fusion, illusion, inclusion, interfusion, intrusion, obtrusion, occlusion, preclusion, profusion, prolusion, protrusion, reclusion, seclusion, suffusion, transfusion

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·fu·sion

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.