top of page



Definition of 'puzzling'

Confusing, perplexing, or difficult to understand.
"His sudden disappearance was a puzzling mystery to his friends and family."

Detailed Meaning of 'puzzling'

It describes a situation, behavior, or concept that presents a mystery or challenge to one's comprehension or logical reasoning. When something is described as puzzling, it implies that it provokes curiosity, intrigue, or a sense of bewilderment. It can apply to various aspects of life, such as puzzling questions, puzzling behavior, or puzzling occurrences that defy conventional understanding. Puzzling situations often require careful analysis, critical thinking, and investigation to unravel their meaning or find a solution. The adjective "puzzling" suggests a sense of intrigue, uncertainty, or curiosity, often leading to a desire for further exploration or investigation to resolve the mystery or confusion.


Examples of 'puzzling' in a Sentence

1. The teacher presented the students with a puzzling math problem to solve.
2. The results of the experiment were puzzling and did not align with the expected outcomes.
3. Her cryptic message left everyone in the room with a puzzling expression.
4. The puzzling behavior of the animal left the researchers scratching their heads.
5. The detective found a series of puzzling clues that seemed unrelated at first.
6. It was a puzzling decision to go against the advice of the experts.

Anchor 1

Origins & Etymology of 'puzzling'

The adjective 'puzzling' is closely linked to the noun 'puzzle' and shares its etymological roots. It originates from the Middle English word 'pusilen,' which means 'to perplex' or 'to confuse.' This Middle English term is believed to have evolved from the Old French word 'poosel,' also signifying bewilderment or confusion. The Old French term, in turn, may have been influenced by the Latin word 'perplexus,' which means 'entangled' or 'confused.' Therefore, 'puzzling' describes something that is confusing, perplexing, or difficult to understand, reflecting its historical connection to the idea of causing bewilderment or involving the mind deeply. The etymology of 'puzzling' underscores its inherent quality of creating mental challenges and prompting a sense of confusion or perplexity.


How to pronounce puzzling (audio)


bottom of page