• WordNet 3.6
    • v perplex make more complicated "There was a new development that complicated the matter"
    • v perplex be a mystery or bewildering to "This beats me!","Got me--I don't know the answer!","a vexing problem","This question really stuck me"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Perplex Intricate; difficult.
    • Perplex To embarrass; to puzzle; to distract; to bewilder; to confuse; to trouble with ambiguity, suspense, or anxiety. "Perplexd beyond self-explication.""We are perplexed , but not in despair.""We can distinguish no general truths, or at least shall be apt to perplex the mind."
    • Perplex To involve; to entangle; to make intricate or complicated, and difficult to be unraveled or understood; as, to perplex one with doubts. "No artful wildness to perplex the scene.""What was thought obscure, perplexed , and too hard for our weak parts, will lie open to the understanding in a fair view."
    • Perplex To plague; to vex; to tormen.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • perplex Intricate; difficult.
    • n perplex A difficulty; an entanglement; something hard to understand; a perplexity.
    • perplex To make intricate; involve; entangle; make complicated and difficult to be understood or unraveled.
    • perplex To embarrass; puzzle; distract; bewilder; trouble with suspense, anxiety, or ambiguity.
    • perplex Synonyms To complicate, tangle, snarl.
    • perplex Puzzle, etc. (see embarrass), confuse, harass, pose, nonplus, put to a stand, mystify.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • v.t Perplex per-pleks′ to make difficult to be understood: to embarrass: to puzzle: to tease with suspense or doubt
    • n Perplex (obs.) a difficulty
    • ***


  • Sidney J. Harris
    “Middle Age is that perplexing time of life when we hear two voices calling us, one saying, Why not? and the other, Why bother?”
  • John Milton
    “Fear of change perplexes monarchs.”
  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them.”
  • Sir John Vanbrugh
    Sir John Vanbrugh
    “The want of a thing is perplexing enough, but the possession of it, is intolerable.”
  • Thomas Kempis
    “Scruples, temptations, and fears, and cutting perplexities of the heart, are often the lot of the most excellent persons.”
  • Kahlil Gibran
    “Perplexity is the beginning of knowledge.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. perplexus, entangled, intricate; per + plectere, plexum, to plait, braid: cf. F. perplexe,. See Per-, and Plait


In literature:

It is a rather perplexing problem if they turn naughty.
"Floyd Grandon's Honor" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
His brethren encouraged his good works, but his perplexities and doubts remained.
"A Modern History, From the Time of Luther to the Fall of Napoleon" by John Lord
But he kept his feeling of perplexity.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
The squadron under Frobisher deceived and perplexed the Spaniards.
"Sir Walter Ralegh" by William Stebbing
To add to my perplexities I did not know what had happened at Dundee, where I had been told a strong British garrison was in occupation.
"My Reminiscences of the Anglo-Boer War" by Ben Viljoen
The rider paused, turned in the saddle and scratched his head in perplexity.
"The Range Boss" by Charles Alden Seltzer
She wanted all the spiritual help possible in her present state of perplexity.
"A Coin of Edward VII" by Fergus Hume
The groom looked perplexed, but made no comment.
"The Mistress of Shenstone" by Florence L. Barclay
Nibsinsky's Eyetalian selections were listened to with some degree of attention and a considerable measure of perplexity.
"A Pirate of Parts" by Richard Neville
Droop followed him closely, rubbing his hand through his hair in perplexity.
"The Panchronicon" by Harold Steele Mackaye

In poetry:

"The arrows of his straining sight
Fell quenched in darkness; priest and sage,
Like lost guides calling left and right,
Perplexed his doubtful age.
"My Namesake" by John Greenleaf Whittier
The fool the stoutest heart will vex,
And the most wealthy spouse perplex;
She'll, to a little, much reduce,
'Till she has sham'd her friends and house:
"Advice To A Young Man, Before He Goes A Courting" by Rees Prichard
Still would it baffle and perplex the brain.
But show this bitter truth:
Man lives not in the past:
None but a woman ever comes again
Back to the House of Youth!
"The House Of Youth" by Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard
Perplexing questions died within my breast,
"Deep peace hath he who doeth lovingly
My will, who loveth most, he loveth best,"
Came blown to me across the twilight sea.
"Motives" by Marietta Holley
Oh, sing till all perplexing care
Has vanished with the day!
And angels ever bright and fair
Come down the melody to share,
And on their pinions lightly bear
My happy soul away.
"A Song" by Hattie Howard
That needs were often great, when means
were small,
Will not perplex me any more at all
A few short years at most (it may be less),
I shall have done with earthly storm and
"The Long View" by Fay Inchfawn

In news:

Pondering an Artist's Perplexing Tribute to the Pythagorean Theorem .
The increasing use of emergency departments (EDs) is a perplexing problem across the United States.
UT's unpredictability still quite perplexing.
I have a predicament that has perplexed me for years.
I recently heard from Laurel, a writer who had interviewed me for a story about allowances and then contacted me as a parent with a perplexing personal problem.
The news from Disney was perplexing at first, inevitable when you started to think about it.
The words were heavy and the recognition perplexing.
A perplexing path from big dreamer to mall shooter (+video).
David Hudson used the word "perplexing" to describe how anyone could put faith into President Obama in the upcoming election.
HP's Accounts Bombshell : A Guide for the Perplexed.
Maverick Minister in India Is as Perplexing as She Is Powerful.
Elmwood Cemetery dog is captured, but deer pal Ella is perplexed.
Then, let's talk about Marshall's 69-63 win over Coppin State Saturday night before 5,152 perplexed fans in the Henderson Center.
A perplexing odyssey of greed By Stephanie Merry Friday, August 24, 2012.
I find myself in a perplexing situation sometimes.

In science:

The unusual environment has a bearing on several perplexing properties of solar system material.
Young Circumstellar Disks Near Evolved Massive Stars and Supernovae
It is of course no surprise that power corrections show some scale dependence, but it is perplexing that an appropriate scale can make them to vanish completely.
The present situation in the determination of $\alpha_s$
But this was not the most perplexing issue confronting quantum electrodynamics in the 1930s.
The Casimir effect: Recent controversies and progress
This casts some perplexity on the rationale to attempt fully numerical simulations of galaxy formation in cosmological volumes, and is the basic justification of the wealth of semi-analytic models on the market, in which all the processes involving baryons are treated by means of simplified ”recipes” or ”prescriprions”.
Mutual feedback between star formation and nuclear activity
Ligand-receptor energetics : a guide for the perplexed.
A First Exposure to Statistical Mechanics for Life Scientists