v. con·fused, con·fus·ing, con·fus·es
a. To cause to be unable to think with clarity or act with intelligence or understanding; bewilder or perplex.
b. Archaic To cause to feel embarrassment.
a. To fail to differentiate (one person or thing) from another: confused effusiveness with affection.
b. To make more complex or difficult to understand: "The old labels ... confuse debate instead of clarifying it" (Christopher Lasch).
To make something unclear or incomprehensible: a new tax code that only confuses.
[Middle English confusen, from Old French confus, perplexed, from Latin cōnfūsus, past participle of cōnfundere, to mix together; see CONFOUND.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.