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From be- (prefix used as an intensifier) +‎ wilder (to lead astray; to go astray, wander).[1]





bewilder (third-person singular simple present bewilders, present participle bewildering, simple past and past participle bewildered)

  1. (transitive) To confuse, disorientate, or puzzle someone, especially with many different choices.
    Synonyms: befuddle; see also Thesaurus:confuse
    All the different possible options may bewilder us.
    Don’t push me into that maze and bewilder me.
    • 1703, [Richard Blackmore], A Hymn to the Light of the World. With a Short Description of the Cartons of Raphael Urbin, in the Gallery at Hampton-Court, London: Printed for Jacob Tonson [], →OCLC, page 8:
      Thou, Kind Redeemer, toucht to ſee / So ſad a Sight, ſuch moving Miſery, / Didſt ſoon determine to diſpel / Theſe Shades of Death, and Gloom of Hell: / And ſo to reviſit with Thy Heav'nly Light / Loſt Man, bewilder'd in Infernal Night.
    • 1717, Louis Liger, “Of the Flowers that are to be Sown in the Month of March, and of the Manner of Raising Them”, in George London, Henry Wise, transl., The Retir’d Gardener. In Six Parts. [], 2nd revised edition, London: Publish’d [] by Joseph Carpenter; [p]rinted for J[acob] Tonson [], →OCLC, part the fifth, page 269:
      Such Works, in point of Precepts, are of the Number of thoſe that are call'd ſpecious, in which the Authors, whilſt they endeavour too exactly to explain what they have dogmatically advanc'd, loſe themſelves in imaginary Mazes, and bewilder themſelves more and more.
    • 1807 October 15, “Mustapha Rub-a-Dub Keli Khan” [pseudonym; Washington Irving; William Irving; James Kirke Paulding], “Letter from Mustapha Rub-a-Dub Keli Khan, to Asem Hacchem, Principal Slave-driver to His Highness the Bashaw of Tripoli”, in Salmagundi; or, The Whim-whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq. and Others [...] First Series. In Two Volumes, new corrected edition, volume II, number XVI, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers [], published 1835, →OCLC, page 157:
      It is that fiend politics, Asem,—that baneful fiend, which bewildereth every brain, and poisons every social feeling; which intrudes itself at the festive banquet, and, like the detestable harpy, pollutes the very viands of the table; [...]
    • 1821, Plain Directions on Domestic Economy, Showing Particularly What are the Cheapest, and Most Nourishing Articles of Food and Drink, and the Best Modes of Preparation, New York, N.Y.: Published by order of the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism; printed by Samuel Wood & Sons, [], →OCLC, page 13:
      [P]ause therefore, now, and solemnly determine that you will never again degrade your being, by bewildering your brain with strong liquor.
    • 1874, Hurrychund Chintamon, chapter 3, in A Commentary on the Text of the Bhagavad-Gítá; or, The Discourse between Krishna and Arjuna on Divine Matters. [], London: Trübner and Co., [], →OCLC, page 17:
      Thou bewilderest my mind by thy ambiguous words. Tell me, therefore, one only thing for certain, by which I may obtain happiness.
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, chapter II, in The Picture of Dorian Gray, London, New York, N.Y., Melbourne, Vic.: Ward Lock & Co., →OCLC, page 28:
      "Stop!" faltered Dorian Gray, "stop! you bewilder me. I don't know what to say. There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don't speak. Let me think. Or, rather, let me try not to think."
    • 1914 November, Louis Joseph Vance, “An Outsider []”, in Munsey’s Magazine, volume LIII, number II, New York, N.Y.: The Frank A[ndrew] Munsey Company, [], published 1915, →OCLC, chapter II (Burglary), page 378, column 1:
      She wakened in sharp panic, bewildered by the grotesquerie of some half-remembered dream in contrast with the harshness of inclement fact, drowsily realizing that since she had fallen asleep it had come on to rain smartly out of a shrouded sky.
    • 1970 April, André Gide, chapter IV, in Richard Howard, transl., The Immoralist: A New Translation (A Borzoi Book), New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, →OCLC; 1st Vintage International edition, New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books, February 1996, →ISBN, part I, page 38:
      She preceded me along a strange path, unlike any I have ever seen in other countries. [...] [T]he contours of the gardens these walls confine dispose it to leisure; it curves or doubles back altogether, and right at the start a bend bewilders us; there is no knowing where we have come from or where we are heading.
    • 2013, Edward [L.] Shorter, “Medicine”, in Partnership for Excellence: Medicine at the University of Toronto and Academic Hospitals, Toronto, Ont., Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, →ISBN, page 210:
      Ever more new drugs appeared on the market, bewildering and swamping clinicians who had been accustomed in their pharmaceutical armamentarium to a handful of painkillers, alkaloids with physiological effects, and vaccines.
    • 2018 June 18, Phil McNulty, “Tunisia 1 – 2 England”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 21 April 2019:
      It was remarkable that Tunisia reached half-time on level terms as they were often bewildered by England's pace and movement before being spared by their generosity in front of goal.

Derived terms



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ bewilder, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1887; bewilder, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading