Baffling



to confuse, bewilder, or perplex:
He was baffled by the technical language of the instructions.
to frustrate or confound; thwart by creating confusion or bewilderment.
to check or deflect the movement of (sound, light, fluids, etc.).
to equip with a baffle or baffles.
Obsolete. to cheat; trick.
to struggle ineffectually, as a ship in a gale.
something that balks, checks, or deflects.
an artificial obstruction for checking or deflecting the flow of gases (as in a boiler), sounds (as in the loudspeaker system of a radio or hi-fi set), light (as in a darkroom), etc.
any boxlike enclosure or flat panel for mounting a loudspeaker.
Contemporary Examples

First was the cavalcade of denials and baffling cover-ups she fired off to defend herself.
My Search for Amanda Bynes … and Why I’m Calling It Off Kevin Fallon May 28, 2013

This is the baffling, awkward dichotomy that is MTV in 2014.
Butts, ‘Bang Bang’ & Beyoncé: The Craziest MTV Video Music Awards Moments Kevin Fallon August 24, 2014

This extraordinary passage raises a number of baffling questions.
Social Science Minus the Science David Frum February 7, 2012

It was as baffling as watching someone bottle lightning or saw a lady in half.
Earl Scruggs, Dead at 88, Pioneered a Banjo Style Imitated but Never Equaled Malcolm Jones March 28, 2012

Given all that, the way the White House completely dropped the obstructionism charge was baffling.
Michael Tomasky: Is Barack Obama Too Weak to Win in November? Michael Tomasky June 4, 2012

Historical Examples

But to the penitent sinner, though mysterious, though full of baffling riddles, it is plain enough.
The Literature and History of New Testament Times J. Gresham (John Gresham) Machen

The pay of the soldiers remained to Washington a baffling problem.
Washington and his Comrades in Arms George Wrong

Their eyes wrestled with the baffling dark, and their pulses checked and raced; for something was moving out yonder.
McClure’s Magazine, Vol. XXXI, September 1908, No. 5 Various

This was a baffling question; for diplomatic destinies were at stake.
Flash-lights from the Seven Seas William L. Stidger

Conrad Lagrange turned his peculiar, baffling eyes upon the young man.
The Eyes of the World Harold Bell Wright

adjective
impossible to understand; perplexing; bewildering; puzzling
verb (transitive)
to perplex; bewilder; puzzle
to frustrate (plans, efforts, etc)
to check, restrain, or regulate (the flow of a fluid or the emission of sound or light)
to provide with a baffle
(obsolete) to cheat or trick
noun
Also called baffle board, baffle plate. a plate or mechanical device designed to restrain or regulate the flow of a fluid, the emission of light or sound, or the distribution of sound, esp in a loudspeaker or microphone
adj.

1783, “bewildering,” present participle adjective from baffle (v.); earlier a sailor’s adjective for winds that blow variously and make headway difficult (c.1770s).
v.

1540s, “to disgrace,” perhaps a Scottish respelling of bauchle “to disgrace publicly” (especially a perjured knight), which is probably related to French bafouer “to abuse, hoodwink” (16c.), possibly from baf, a natural sound of disgust, like bah (cf. German baff machen “to flabbergast”). Meaning “to bewilder, confuse” is from 1640s; that of “to defeat someone’s efforts” is from 1670s. Related: Baffled; baffling.
n.

“shielding device,” 1881, from baffle (v.).

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