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From Old French, from Latin perplexus (entangled, confused), from per (through) + plexus, perfect passive participle of plectō (plait, weave, braid).



perplex (third-person singular simple present perplexes, present participle perplexing, simple past and past participle perplexed)

  1. (transitive) To cause to feel baffled; to puzzle.
  2. (transitive) To involve; to entangle; to make intricate or complicated.
    • John Locke
      What was thought obscure, perplexed, and too hard for our weak parts, will lie open to the understanding in a fair view.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To plague; to vex; to torment.
    • Granville
      Chloe's the wonder of her sex, 'Tis well her heart is tender, How might such killing eyes perplex, With virtue to defend her.


Related terms[edit]



perplex (comparative more perplex, superlative most perplex)

  1. (obsolete) intricate; difficult
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Glanvill to this entry?)

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for perplex in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Further reading[edit]