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a. The act of confusing or the state of being confused: Backstage confusion made the rehearsal difficult.
b. An instance of being confused: "After his awakening to Chicano identity, he briefly mastered his inner confusions and found an articulate voice" (David C. Unger).
2. Psychology A mental state involving impaired orientation with respect to time, place, or person.

con·fu′sion·al adj.


1. the act of confusing or the state of being confused
2. disorder; jumble
3. bewilderment; perplexity
4. lack of clarity; indistinctness
5. embarrassment; abashment
conˈfusional adj


(kənˈfyu ʒən)

1. the act of confusing.
2. the state of being confused.
3. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos: The army retreated in confusion.
4. lack of clearness or distinctness.
5. perplexity; bewilderment.
6. embarrassment or abashment.
7. a disturbed mental state; disorientation.
8. Archaic. defeat, overthrow, or ruin.
[1300–50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin]
con•fu′sion•al, adj.


 a confused collection or assemblage. See also chaos, clutter.
Examples: confusion of blocks of stone; of piled blocks, 1835; of persons, 1791.



at loose ends Unsettled, undecided, lacking direction or goal; uncommitted to one’s present position and uncertain of one’s future status. A loose end is anything that is left hanging or not properly attached, as a piece of fabric or a seemingly superfluous detail. A person is “at loose ends” when his life lacks coherence or a sense of direction as exemplified in the following fragment quoted in Webster’s Third:

… feeling himself at loose ends—no job, no immediate prospects. (Dixon Wecter)

See also tie up the loose ends, COMPLETION.

at sea Confused, perplexed; without direction, design, or stability; in a state of uncertainty. Figurative use of this expression dates from the mid-18th century and is based on an analogy to a ship lost at sea, having no bearings and out of sight of land. At sea can refer to a person or state of affairs. All adrift is an analogous nautical expression with a similar figurative meaning ‘aimless, confused.’

knock for a loop To disorient someone by saying or doing something shocking or unexpected; to strike a blow and cause one to lose balance and fall. The loop in this modern slang expression derives from the aeronautical term for the mid-air maneuver of an airplane. To knock someone for a loop is to hit that person hard enough to make him do a somersault. The feeling of dizziness and disorientation is carried over into the more common figurative use.

That little charade of hers had knocked him for a loop. (D. Ramsey, Deadly Discretion, 1973)

Also current is throw for a loop.

I was really confused. That memorandum threw me for a loop. (E. Ambler, Intercom Conspiracy, 1969)

knock galley-west See COMBAT.

lose one’s bearings To become lost; to lose all sense of direction; to become hopelessly disoriented, confused, or bewildered. In this expression, bearings carries the literal meaning of reference points or directions in relation to one’s position; thus, the term’s use to describe a person who is lost or disoriented.

not know if one is afoot or on horseback So completely confused as to not know what one is doing, thoroughly befuddled or mixed-up; not to know whether one is coming or going. This self-evident American colloquialism dates from the late 19th century.

“Fay Daniels!” gasps the girl, which don’t know if she’s afoot or horseback—and neither did I. (Collier’s, October, 1927)

not to know if one is coming or going Not to know what one is doing; extremely confused or mixed-up; not to know which end is up; ignorant, stupid.

There’s nobody at the Town Hall could take it on. Town Clerk doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going. (J. B. Priestley, Fest. Frabridge, 1951)

Use of the phrase dates from at least 1924.

not to know which end is up See IGNORANCE.

not to make head nor tail of See make head or tail of, DIFFERENTIATION.

slaphappy See FATUOUSNESS.

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.confusion - disorder resulting from a failure to behave predictablyconfusion - disorder resulting from a failure to behave predictably; "the army retreated in confusion"
disorder - a disturbance of the peace or of public order
demoralisation, demoralization - a state of disorder and confusion; "his inconsistency resulted in the demoralization of his staff"
bluster - noisy confusion and turbulence; "he was awakened by the bluster of their preparations"
bedlam, chaos, pandemonium, topsy-turvydom, topsy-turvyness - a state of extreme confusion and disorder
hugger-mugger - a state of confusion; "he engaged in the hugger-mugger of international finance"
schemozzle, shemozzle - (Yiddish) a confused situation or affair; a mess
2.confusion - a mental state characterized by a lack of clear and orderly thought and behaviorconfusion - a mental state characterized by a lack of clear and orderly thought and behavior; "a confusion of impressions"
cognitive state, state of mind - the state of a person's cognitive processes
disorientation - confusion (usually transient) about where you are and how to proceed; uncertainty as to direction; "his disorientation was the result of inattention"
distraction - mental turmoil; "he drives me to distraction"
daze, haze, fog - confusion characterized by lack of clarity
half-cock - confusion resulting from lack of preparation
jamais vu - the experience of being unfamiliar with a person or situation that is actually very familiar; associated with certain types of epilepsy
bafflement, befuddlement, bemusement, bewilderment, mystification, obfuscation, puzzlement - confusion resulting from failure to understand
perplexity - trouble or confusion resulting from complexity
3.confusion - a feeling of embarrassment that leaves you confused
embarrassment - the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public
4.confusion - an act causing a disorderly combination of elements with identities lost and distinctions blended; "the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel"
compounding, combining, combination - the act of combining things to form a new whole
babel - a confusion of voices and other sounds
5.confusion - a mistake that results from taking one thing to be anotherconfusion - a mistake that results from taking one thing to be another; "he changed his name in order to avoid confusion with the notorious outlaw"
error, fault, mistake - a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention; "he made a bad mistake"; "she was quick to point out my errors"; "I could understand his English in spite of his grammatical faults"


1. bewilderment, doubt, uncertainty, puzzlement, perplexity, mystification, bafflement, perturbation Omissions in my recent article may have caused some confusion.
bewilderment solution, explanation, enlightenment, clarification
2. disorder, chaos, turmoil, upheaval, muddle, bustle, shambles, disarray, commotion, disorganization, disarrangement The rebel leader seems to have escaped in the confusion.
disorder order, organization, arrangement, neatness, tidiness
3. bewilderment, puzzlement, perplexity, bafflement, mystification, perturbation I left his office in a state of confusion.
"Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood" [Henry Miller Tropic of Capricorn]
"with ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,"
"Confusion worse confounded" [John Milton Paradise Lost]


إضْطِراب، بَلْبَلَهاِرْتِباك
sự nhầm lẫn


[kənˈfjuːʒən] N
1. (= disorder) → desorden m
to be in confusionestar en desorden
to retire in confusionretirarse en desorden
2. (= perplexity) → confusión f, desorientación f
people were in a state of confusionla gente estaba desorientada
3. (= commotion) → confusión f
in all the confusion I forgot itlo olvidé en medio de tanta confusión
I heard a confusion of voicesoí unas voces confusas
4. (= embarrassment) to be covered in confusionestar avergonzado


[kənˈfjuːʒən] n
(= uncertainty) → confusion f
(= chaos) → confusion f


(= disorder)Durcheinander nt, → Wirrwarr m, → Unordnung f; (= jumble)Wirrwarr m; to be in confusionin Unordnung sein, durcheinander sein; scenes of confusionallgemeines or wildes Durcheinander; to retreat in confusion (Mil) → einen ungeordneten Rückzug antreten; to throw everything into confusionalles durcheinanderbringen; in the confusion of the battleim Durcheinander der Schlacht; to run about in confusionwild durcheinanderlaufen
(= perplexity)Verwirrung f, → Unklarheit f; (= mental confusion, after drugs, blow on head etc) → Verwirrtheit f; (through old age etc) → Wirrheit f; in the confusion of the momentim Eifer des Gefechts
(= embarrassment)Verlegenheit f; (at being found out) → Betroffenheit f; to be covered in confusionvor Verlegenheit erröten
(= mixing up)Verwechslung f


[kənˈfjuːʒn] nconfusione f


(kənˈfjuːz) verb
1. to put in disorder. He confused the arrangements by arriving late.
2. to mix up in one's mind. I always confuse John and his twin brother.
3. to make puzzled. He completely confused me by his questions.
conˈfused adjective
1. mixed up. The message I received was rather confused.
2. mixed up in the mind. in a confused state of mind.
conˈfusedly (-zidli) adverb
conˈfusion (-ʒən) noun


اِرْتِباك zmatek forvirring Verwechslung σύγχυση confusión sekaannus confusion zbrka confusione 混同 혼란 verwarring forvirring dezorientacja confusão сомнение förvirring ความสับสน karışıklık sự nhầm lẫn 混淆


n. confusión; atolondramiento; aturdimiento.


n confusión f
References in classic literature ?
To complete her confusion, she saw Belle nudge Annie, and both glance from her to Laurie, who, she was happy to see, looked unusually boyish and shy.
For George Willard the confusion was immedi- ately increased.
All that noise and confusion at the table must have upset me," replied Edna, "and moreover, I hate shocks and surprises.
Still there is so much obscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much confusion in the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful.
What thanks, what ardent and ceaseless thanks are due to that all-superintending Providence which has turned a cruel war into peace, brought order out of confusion, made the fierce savages placid, and turned away their hostile weapons from our country
They have used a horizontal breadth for a frieze, and that adds wonderfully to the confusion.
We got a billiard-table over from Stockton," half bashfully interrupted Dick Mattingly, struggling from his end of the trunk to recover his composure, "and it had to be brought over in sections on the back of a mule, so I don't see why--" He stopped short again in confusion, at a sign from his brother, and then added, "I mean, of course, that a piano is a heap more delicate, and valuable, and all that sort of thing, but it's worth trying for.
There is sad confusion, indeed, when the spirit thus flits away into the past, or into the more awful future, or, in any manner, steps across the spaceless boundary betwixt its own region and the actual world; where the body remains to guide itself as best it may, with little more than the mechanism of animal life.
Dimmesdale's church, and the young virgins who so idolized their minister, and had made a shrine for him in their white bosoms, which now, by-the-bye, in their hurry and confusion, they would scantly have given themselves time to cover with their kerchiefs.
I found it simple, in my ignorance, my confusion, and perhaps my conceit, to assume that I could deal with a boy whose education for the world was all on the point of beginning.
Utter confusion exists among the historians of this animal (sperm whale), says Surgeon Beale, A.
There was much confusion in the yard; the horses being got out of other stables, and the carriages and gigs being pulled out of houses and sheds, lest the flames should spread further.