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Flummox

The word flummox sounds somewhat comical. It first appeared in the English language in the mid-1800s in England. We will look at the meaning and origins of the word flummox as well as some examples of its use in sentences.

Flummox means to bewilder, to confuse, to perplex, to puzzle. Charles Dickens used the word flummox in his work The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, also known as The Pickwick Papers, first published as a serial in 1836 and then as a novel in 1837. The word flummox was most likely derived from a Scottish or English dialect word. One possible origin is the English dialect word, flummock. The term flummock meant to gad about in a slovenly fashion, to make things messy or confusing. For a time, flummox was used in American English to mean exhausted or defeated. That meaning has gone by the wayside. Interestingly, although the word is over one hundred and fifty years old, it is more popular than ever according to Google’s Ngram. Flummox is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are flummoxes, flummoxed, flummoxing.


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Examples

The Senegal forward turned provider for the second goal as Coutinho picked up Mane’s short pass, cut inside to flummox two defenders, and buried a low shot inside the near post. (Sports Illustrated)

The question is, can they procure another lineup as far-reaching as this one, and if so, will Drake pop in to flummox those original Woodstock fans, and woo their grandkids? (The Los Angeles Times)

The outcome has flummoxed civil liberties advocates who have been waging legal battles to reform Mississippi’s criminal justice system, which provides almost no state funding for public defenders. (The Herald)

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