Confused? Perplexed? Bumfuzzled?

Which of the following words means confused or perplexed?

Considering cattywampus, whippersnapper, bumfuzzled and lollygag, the answer is: bumfuzzled.

Photo credit: lexicographyfun2357.com

It's a word that's not used very often, so we would understand if you're a bit bumfuzzled about the word bumfuzzle. In fact, we'll preface with Merriam-Webster's "bumfuzzle" entry in case you think we're just making up words. And no, it's not new – bumfuzzle actually entered the American English lexicon around 1900. Primarily in the southern United States, bumfuzzle has been used to mean "to confuse," and likely comes from some combination of “bamboozle,” “fuddle,” and “fuzzy.”

The word is a bit oblique in recent history, but bumfuzzled has been spoken in the public sphere as recently as 1999. At an awards ceremony, President Bill Clinton uttered the phrase:

"And–but you need to know–and when you go back home, people–I can imagine the American people must be totally bumfuzzled; keep announcing surpluses and we keep having budget fights. That’s what’s going on here."

If a president can say it, anyone can. Let's bring bumfuzzled back into modern vernacular by learning about its uses here.


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