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Alternative forms[edit]


Origin uncertain. Perhaps related to French bafouer (to scorn) or obsolete French befer (to mock),[1] via Scots bauchle (to disgrace).[2]


  • IPA(key): /ˈbæfl̩/
  • Hyphenation: baf‧fle
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æfəl


baffle (third-person singular simple present baffles, present participle baffling, simple past and past participle baffled)

  1. (obsolete) To publicly disgrace, especially of a recreant knight. [16th-17th c.]
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, VI.7:
      He by the heeles him hung upon a tree, / And baffuld so, that all which passed by / The picture of his punishment might see […].
  2. (obsolete) To hoodwink or deceive (someone). [16th-18th c.]
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Barrow to this entry?)
  3. To bewilder completely; to confuse or perplex. [from 17th c.]
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:confuse
    I am baffled by the contradictions and omissions in the instructions.
    • (Can we date this quote by Prescott and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      calculations so difficult as to have baffled, until within a [] recent period, the most enlightened nations
    • (Can we date this quote by John Locke and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The mere intricacy of a question should not baffle us.
  4. (now rare) To foil; to thwart. [from 17th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote by Cowper and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      the art that baffles time's tyrannic claim
    • (Can we date this quote by South and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      a suitable scripture ready to repel and baffle them all
    • 1915, Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, Fifty-One Tales
      So they had to search the world again for a sphinx. And still there was none. But they were not men that it is easy to baffle, and at last they found a sphinx in a desert at evening watching a ruined temple whose gods she had eaten hundreds of years ago when her hunger was on her.
  5. (intransitive) To struggle in vain. [from 19th c.]
    A ship baffles with the winds.



baffle (plural baffles)

  1. A device used to dampen the effects of such things as sound, light, or fluid. Specifically, a baffle is a surface which is placed inside an open area to inhibit direct motion from one part to another, without preventing motion altogether.
    Tanker trucks use baffles to keep the liquids inside from sloshing around.
  2. An architectural feature designed to confuse enemies or make them vulnerable.
  3. (US, dialect, coal mining) A lever for operating the throttle valve of a winding engine.


  • French: baffle
  • Spanish: bafle


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ baffle” in Lexico,; Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ baffle” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.



Borrowed from English baffle.



baffle m (plural baffles)

  1. speaker (audio)
    Synonym: haut-parleur