Definition of nonplussed in English:


Line breaks: non|plussed
Pronunciation: /nɒnˈplʌst


  • 1So surprised and confused that one is unsure how to react: Henry looked completely nonplussed
    More example sentences
    • The Chief continues to act confused, nonplussed and bewildered but after giving the matter some serious thought, he suddenly remembers the details of a conversation he once had with the Apache.
    • I was somewhat nonplussed and ended up saying ‘I'm rather surprised they even felt the need to ask.’
    • When, the night of his gig, the emcee announced ‘Here's Rodney Dangerfield,’ a somewhat nonplussed audience looked at him with confusion.
  • 2North American informal Not disconcerted; unperturbed.
    More example sentences
    • Felix is nonplussed by the pills, but others are less thrilled about the daily regime.
    • But he remained nonplussed in the face of his wife's cynicism.
    • ‘No, thank you,’ I replied, to all appearances nonplussed but inwardly raging.


In standard use nonplussed means ‘surprised and confused’, as in she was nonplussed at his eagerness to help out . In North American English a new use has developed in recent years, meaning ‘unperturbed’—more or less the opposite of its traditional meaning—as in he was clearly trying to appear nonplussed . This new use probably arose on the assumption that non- was the normal negative prefix and must therefore have a negative meaning. It is not considered part of standard English.

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