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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


 a confused collection or assemblage. See also chaos, clutter.
Examples: confusion of blocks of stone; of piled blocks, 1835; of persons, 1791.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



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.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[kənˈfjuːʒən] n
(= uncertainty) → confusion f
(= chaos) → confusion f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= 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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[kənˈfjuːʒn] nconfusione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


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
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. confusión; atolondramiento; aturdimiento.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n confusión f
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
At this I blushed in some confusion, but did not greatly hasten to thank him.
We were each attached to a party sent out by the general's orders to prevent the plunder and confusion which followed our conquest.
"What are you going to do?" The Fox thought first of one way, then of another, and while he was debating the hounds came nearer and nearer, and at last the Fox in his confusion was caught up by the hounds and soon killed by the huntsmen.
Still there is so much obscurity in the Indian traditions, and so much confusion in the Indian names, as to render some explanation useful.
This threw the rest into confusion; they endeavored to protect their unhorsed comrades from the furious assaults of the whites; but, after a scene of "confusion worse confounded," horses and mules were abandoned, and the Indians betook themselves to the bushes.
When he was informed that among others awaiting him in his reception room there was a Frenchman who had brought a letter from his wife, the Countess Helene, he felt suddenly overcome by that sense of confusion and hopelessness to which he was apt to succumb.
On the journey in the train he talked to his neighbors about politics and the new railways, and, just as in Moscow, he was overcome by a sense of confusion of ideas, dissatisfaction with himself, shame of something or other.
To see the expression of her eyes, the change of her complexion, the progress of her feelings, their doubt, confusion, and felicity, was enough.
My mother and sisters were always about me, and I was always trying to escape them; for they worried me to distraction with their solicitude for my health and with their periodic inroads on my den, when my orderly confusion, upon which I prided myself, was turned into worse confusion and less order, though it looked neat enough to the eye.
"I knew it," he muttered in confusion, "I thought so!
Making first for the kitchen, she was driven back by the clamor and confusion attending the removal of those among the wounded who were strong enough to be placed in the wagon.
I have told him that I am not quite well, and must be alone; and should he call again there might be confusion, for it is impossible to be sure of servants.