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Perplex   /pərplˈɛks/   Listen
Perplex

verb
(past & past part. perplexed; pres. part. perplexing)
1.
Be a mystery or bewildering to.  Synonyms: amaze, baffle, beat, bewilder, dumbfound, flummox, get, gravel, mystify, nonplus, pose, puzzle, stick, stupefy, vex.  "Got me--I don't know the answer!" , "A vexing problem" , "This question really stuck me"
2.
Make more complicated.  Synonym: complicate.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Perplex" Quotes from Famous Books



... Fortune has been pleas'd to rowl From the Tip-top of her enchanted Bowl, Sate musing on his Fate, but could not guess, Nor give a Reason for her Fickleness: Such Thoughts as these would ne'er his Brain perplex, Did he but once reflect upon her Sex: For how could he expect, or hope to see, In Woman ...
— The Merry-Thought: or the Glass-Window and Bog-House Miscellany - Parts 2, 3 and 4 • Hurlo Thrumbo (pseudonym)

... of the right critical use of it. It has been used critically in building our theologies, but, to a large extent, amiss. Out of this wrong use of it has come the misconceptions in theology which to-day perplex our minds and bar the progress of religion. If we must use the Bible critically, let us by all means try to employ a true and thorough criticism. Let us not think to close every controversy by the phrase—The ...
— The Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible • R. Heber Newton

... his political needs? It is not easy to answer these questions. We begin now upon the views of a Pennsylvania Oppositionist; and quicksilver defied not more utterly the skill of Raymond Lullius than the doctrines of the Philadelphia school perplex the inquiries of sharply defined New England minds. The rudimentary state of Republican principles may nowhere else be so clearly seen as in Pennsylvania. Four years of the Democratic administration of her "favorite son" have done much to make her less favored sons into good ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 6, No. 34, August, 1860 • Various

... the matter of view, but it unsettles one's sense of values, doesn't it? I mean the Bignesses and Smallnesses of things—and creatures. When I went away, or rather when you did, back I don't remember how many years, you were tugging at the bit to be up and at things. That used to perplex me, although you may not have known it; I never really caught your angle or viewpoint. But now that you are in the thick of it I'm puzzled to know whether you ...
— Then I'll Come Back to You • Larry Evans

... you perplex me; for if the noise I heard here, Awaking me from sleep so, were but as you avow, The rain-fall, and the wind, and the tree-bough, and the river, ...
— Late Lyrics and Earlier • Thomas Hardy

... briefly—amid conflicting asseverations it is hard to deal fairly—with the last of the vexatiously controverted episodes which need perplex our narrative. Byron, in wishing Moore from Ravenna a merry Christmas for 1820, proposes that they shall embark together in a newspaper, "with some improvement on the plan of the present scoundrels," "to give the age some new lights on policy, poesy, ...
— Byron • John Nichol

... meaning—rather indeed confirm our reliance on its authority in all the points of agreement, that is, in every point which we are in the least concerned to know,—and expose the simple and unlearned Christian to objections best fitted to perplex, because easiest to be understood, and within the capacity of the shallowest infidel to bring forward and exaggerate; and lastly, whether the Scriptures must not be read in that faith which comes from higher sources than history, that is, if they are read to any ...
— The Literary Remains Of Samuel Taylor Coleridge • Edited By Henry Nelson Coleridge

... these might be accounted for in one of two ways. Either, first, the writer, in copying it out, grew confused in forming his cipher characters; or, secondly, he framed the whole paper with a deliberate purpose to baffle and perplex." ...
— The Cryptogram - A Novel • James De Mille

... ope the ancient text an impulse strong Impels me, and its sacred lore, With honest purpose to explore, And render into my loved German tongue. (He opens a volume, and applies himself to it.) 'Tis writ, "In the beginning was the Word!" I pause, perplex'd! Who now will help afford? I cannot the mere Word so highly prize; I must translate it otherwise, If by the spirit guided as I read. "In the beginning was the Sense!" Take heed, The import of this primal sentence weigh, Lest thy too hasty pen be led ...
— Faust Part 1 • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

... all sides, and amusing me with all his varied eccentricities of movement and song, if one may thus name his vocal performances. Occasionally madam condescended to entertain, or, what is more probable, tried to perplex me by her tactics. She scorned the transparent device of drawing me away from the dangerous vicinity by pretending to be hurt, or by grotesque exhibitions. Her plan was far more cunning than these: it was to point out to the eager seeker after forbidden knowledge, convenient places ...
— Upon The Tree-Tops • Olive Thorne Miller

... what is law? Do they not triumph most, and acquire most fame, when they can gain a cause in the very teeth of the law they profess to support and revere? Who is the greatest lawyer? Not he who can most enlighten, but he who can most perplex and confound the understanding of his hearers! He who can best brow-beat and confuse witnesses; and embroil and mislead the intellect of judge and jury. Yet the mischiefs I have mentioned are but ...
— The Adventures of Hugh Trevor • Thomas Holcroft

... cross, and observe whether he repeats it, (as on Whitsunday [15] he surely ought to do.) Look! he does repeat it; but these driving April showers perplex the images, and that, perhaps, it is which gives him the air of one who acts reluctantly or evasively. Now, again, the sun shines more brightly, and the showers have all swept off like squadrons of cavalry to the rear. We will ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... outline of the scheme, an escape in a collective family party—father, mother, children, and servants—and the king himself, whose features were known to millions, not even withdrawing himself from the public gaze at the stations for changing horses—all this is calculated to perplex and sadden the pitying reader with the idea that some supernatural infatuation had bewildered the predestined victims. Meantime an earlier escape than this to Varennes had been planned, viz., to Brussels. The preparations for this, which have been narrated by Madame ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 4, September, 1850 • Various

... be expected lightly to abandon their allegiance to such a faith as this, nor would it be to their credit if they did; while in Christianity, even when faithfully represented, there is very much calculated to perplex and estrange one who has been trained in the tenets of Buddhism. Moreover, however little he may agree with them, the Buddhist holds that the religious convictions of others are entitled to respect, and that their feelings should never ...
— Religion in Japan • George A. Cobbold, B.A.

... passing in the channel made his boat roll heavily for a moment, with the forward part of the bottom resting on the sand. For the want of something better to think of, he began to put conundrums to himself in the absence of any other person to perplex with them. What was the gentleman that wanted to buy a steamer in Nassau doing up the Hudson? This was the principal one: he could not answer it. He gave it up; as the French have it, he had to "throw his tongue to the dogs," having no use for it in ...
— Within The Enemy's Lines - SERIES: The Blue and the Gray—Afloat • Oliver Optic

... is of interest and value, but there is nothing in it which need perplex the student. It is not pretended that the disease is always, or even, it may be, in the majority of cases, carried about by attendants; only that it is so carried in certain cases. That it may have local and epidemic causes, as well as ...
— Medical Essays • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... could not assist him to judge, for he had never been so far along this chain of Alps before. There was, however, a road to guide them; and there could be little doubt that it was the right one; for, since they had left Beaujeu, there had been no variety of tracks to perplex or mislead. ...
— The Mysteries of Udolpho • Ann Radcliffe

... myself that it was possible I could be deceived; there were movements and noises which I understood all about,—cracklings of small branches in the frost, and little rolls of gravel on the path, such as have a very eerie sound sometimes, and perplex you with wonder as to who has done it, when there is no real mystery; but I assure you all these little movements of nature don't affect you one bit when there is something. I understood them. ...
— The Open Door, and the Portrait. - Stories of the Seen and the Unseen. • Margaret O. (Wilson) Oliphant

... and briskly applying a light whisk-broom to the coat, she hummed one of the songs her father taught her when he was in his buoyant or in his sentimental moods, and that was a fair proportion of the time. It used to perplex her the thrilling buoyancy and the creepy melancholy which alternately mastered her father; but as a child she had become so inured to it that she was not surprised at the alternate pensive gaiety and the blazing exhilaration of the particular ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... afterwards made his appearance at the divan, and immediately recognised Yussuf in his partial disguise. He observed to Giaffar, "Do you see there our friend Yussuf? I have him at last, and now I will perplex him not a little before he escapes me." The chief of the beeldars being called, stepped forward and made his obeisance. "What is the number of your corps?" inquired ...
— The Pacha of Many Tales • Frederick Marryat

... too, the trinkets, that the fair adorn, But who can count the spangles of the morn? What pencil can pourtray this splendid mart. This vast, stupendous wilderness of art? Where fancy sports, in all her rainbow hues, And beauty's radiant forms perplex the muse. The boundless theme transcends poetic lays,— Let plain historic truth record ...
— A Description of Modern Birmingham • Charles Pye

... out his black pipe and was going to fill it with negro-head, when, looking at the tangle of tobacco in his hand, he seemed to think it might perplex the thread of his narrative. He put it back again, stuck his pipe in a button-hole of his coat, spread a hand on each knee, and after turning an angry eye on the fire for a few silent moments, looked round at ...
— Great Expectations • Charles Dickens

... less difficult or uncertain in criticisms than in law. Imagination, a licentious and vagrant faculty, unsusceptible of limitations, and impatient of restraint, has always endeavoured to baffle the logician, to perplex the confines of distinction, and burst the inclosures of regularity. There is therefore scarcely any species of writing, of which we can tell what is its essence, and what are its constituents; every new genius produces some innovation, which, when invented and approved, subverts ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson, LL.D, In Nine Volumes - Volume the Third: The Rambler, Vol. II • Samuel Johnson

... plan on plan, and maze involved in maze; In vain Sueante, and either Stenon, fought; In vain my arm a transient succour brought: Almighty Fate on all our labours frown'd, Athwart each scheme the thread of error wound, Our efforts with an unseen chain controll'd, Perplex'd the prudent, and dismay'd the bold. Fate urges on—Her adamantine shield Protects our destined Conqueror in the field; To his own seas by War and Famine driven, Furious he mounts, nor heeds the frowns ...
— Gustavus Vasa - and other poems • W. S. Walker

... north of old Point Barrow Where there ain't no East or West; Where man has a thirst that lingers And where moonshine tastes the best; Where the Arctic ice-pack hovers 'Twixt Alaska and the Pole, And there ain't no bloomin' fashions To perplex a good man's soul." ...
— Where the Sun Swings North • Barrett Willoughby

... coming blow from the head of the intended victim, who, ignorant of the impending danger, was making most furious thrusts at his assailant with the point of his umbrella, a novel mode of attack, which seemed to perplex and annoy that individual in no ...
— Frank Fairlegh - Scenes From The Life Of A Private Pupil • Frank E. Smedley

... "Do not perplex yourself, fair mistress," pursued Gillian. "All will be speedily made known to you. But now, no more time must be lost, and we must each assume the character we have to enact. As I am to be the bride, and you the tire-woman, ...
— The Star-Chamber, Volume 2 - An Historical Romance • W. Harrison Ainsworth

... with woman's meekness To all duties of her rank: And a gentle consort made he, And her gentle mind was such That she grew a noble lady, And the people lov'd her much. But a trouble weigh'd upon her, And perplex'd her, night and morn, With the burden of an honor Unto which she was not born. Faint she grew, and ever fainter, As she murmur'd, "O, that he Were once more that landscape-painter, Which did win my heart from me!" So she droop'd and droop'd ...
— The Ontario Readers: The High School Reader, 1886 • Ministry of Education

... the poor old creature was subjected had disturbed her costume not a little. Her shawl came nearly off, and, holding on by one pin, fluttered like a flag of defiance. Her slippers, which were of the carpet pattern, were left behind on the prairie to perplex the wolves, and her voluminous hair—once a rich auburn, but now a pearly grey—having escaped its cap and fastenings, was streaming out gaily in the breeze, as if to tempt the fingers and knife of ...
— The Buffalo Runners - A Tale of the Red River Plains • R.M. Ballantyne

... so great as to make her utterances only half coherent; and Ailsa, realising that this sort of thing must only perplex Cleek, and leave him in the dark regarding the matter upon which they had come to ...
— Cleek: the Man of the Forty Faces • Thomas W. Hanshew

... brain does that strange fancy roll Which makes the present (while the flash doth last) Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past, Mixed with such feelings as perplex the soul Self-questioned in her sleep: and some have said We lived ere yet this ...
— Mosaics of Grecian History • Marcius Willson and Robert Pierpont Willson

... colonists for many years to come, whatever may be the increase in their numbers. To mention, therefore, the endless less important productions to which the climate and soil of this colony are equally congenial, would only be to perplex their choice, and to divert, perhaps, their industry into less productive channels. It would be superfluous to dwell upon the happy results that would attend the general introduction and culture of these two productions, both with reference ...
— Statistical, Historical and Political Description of the Colony of New South Wales and its Dependent Settlements in Van Diemen's Land • William Charles Wentworth

... wisdom, and poured upon a benighted world the full blaze of evangelical revelations?—Sarah doubted the possibility of an occurrence which was attended with striking difficulties, and evidently miraculous; but what censure do not they deserve who shut their eyes against the clearest light, perplex with sophisms the most intelligible statements, and endeavour, by every exertion of a slanderous tongue and a malignant pen, to subvert the basis of our religious hopes, and to undermine a fabric which has stood the test of ages, giving repose and refreshment ...
— Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I • Francis Augustus Cox

... of comments, as well as of laws, have great inconveniences, and serve only to obscure and perplex; all manner of comments and expositions on any part of these FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONS, or any part of the common or statute law of CAROLINA, are ...
— An Historical Account Of The Rise And Progress Of The Colonies Of South Carolina And Georgia, Volume 1 • Alexander Hewatt

... in a simply practical view, which is the only view in which it ought to concern or perplex any one, we consider that it can have legitimately no effect whatever in leading us from England to Rome. We do not say no legitimate tendency in itself to move us, but no legitimate influence with serious ...
— Prose Masterpieces from Modern Essayists • James Anthony Froude, Edward A. Freeman, William Ewart Gladstone, John Henry Newman and Leslie Steph

... put into disorder, throw into disorder &c 59; muss [U.S.]; break the ranks, disconcert, convulse; break in upon. unhinge, dislocate, put out of joint, throw out of gear. turn topsy-turvy &c (invert) 218; bedevil; complicate, involve, perplex, confound; imbrangle^, embrangle^, tangle, entangle, ravel, tousle, towzle^, dishevel, ruffle; rumple &c (fold) 258. litter, scatter; mix &c 41. rearrange &c 148. Adj. deranged &c v.; syncretic, syncretistic^; mussy, messy; flaky; ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... readings' in fact is a term which belongs of right to the criticism of the text of profane authors: and, like many other notions which have been imported from the same region into this department of inquiry, it only tends to confuse and perplex the judgement. ...
— The Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels • John Burgon

... thinking now of the so-called "realm of the occult," nor of those extraordinary occurrences which startle and perplex the world from time to time, nor of those complicated and subtle problems of crime which are set to puzzle us. I am thinking of much more human and familiar things, quite natural and inevitable as it seems, which make us feel that life is threaded through and through ...
— The Unknown Quantity - A Book of Romance and Some Half-Told Tales • Henry van Dyke

... saw that this system would never do, so he changed his tactics, and the next morning gave Crusoe no breakfast, but took him out at the usual hour to go through his lesson. This new course of conduct seemed to perplex Crusoe not a little, for on his way down to the beach he paused frequently and looked back at the cottage, and then expressively up at his master's face. But the master was inexorable; he went on, and Crusoe followed, for true love had now taken possession of the pup's young heart, and he preferred ...
— The Dog Crusoe and His Master - A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies • Robert Michael Ballantyne

... therefore, Dolph was satisfied he would have time enough to reflect, and to make up his mind as to what he should do when he arrived at Albany. The captain, with his blind eye and lame leg, would, it is true, bring his strange dream to mind, and perplex him sadly for a few moments; but, of late, his life had been made up so much of dreams and realities, his nights and days had been so jumbled together, that he seemed to be moving continually in a delusion. There is always, ...
— Bracebridge Hall, or The Humorists • Washington Irving

... thought proper to ask; and as the objects were before us, we could not well have misunderstood each other. It happened unluckily that Oedidee was not with us in the morning; for Tee, who was the only man we could depend on, served only to perplex us. Matters being thus cleared up, and mutual presents having passed between Otoo and me, we took leave and ...
— A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1 • James Cook

... 'tis as false as ten thousand other Truths, that your Philosophers and Politicians above Ground keep such a babling with over our Heads. For my part I never had that Pleasure, for since my first Nap under my Gravestone, which did not last three Weeks, I have been as much perplex'd about Ireland, as if I was still living at the Deanry, writing for Posterity, and thinking for my poor Country. What makes you sigh so Tom? Why you draw your Breath as hard as a broken-winded Racer; some Qualm I ...
— A Dialogue Between Dean Swift and Tho. Prior, Esq. • Anonymous

... teens they have wit to perplex us, With letters and lovers for ever they vex us: While each still rejects the fair suitor you've brought her; O! what a plague is an obstinate daughter! Wrangling and jangling, Flouting and pouting, Oh, what a ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2) • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... "Though the root of the English language be Dutch{199}, yet it may be said to have been inoculated afterwards on a French stock". He may know that the Dutch is a sister language or dialect to our own; but this that it is the mother or root of it will certainly perplex him, and he will hardly know what to make of the assertion; perhaps he ascribes it to an error in his author, who is thereby unduly lowered in his esteem. But presently in the course of his reading he meets with the following ...
— English Past and Present • Richard Chenevix Trench

... and, in the latter case, it may even have as good a hope of hitting the mark as any philosopher whatever can promise himself. Nay, it is almost more sure of doing so, because the philosopher cannot have any other principle, while he may easily perplex his judgment by a multitude of considerations foreign to the matter, and so turn aside from the right way. Would it not therefore be wiser in moral concerns to acquiesce in the judgment of common reason or at most only to call in philosophy for the ...
— Literary and Philosophical Essays • Various

... and should it ever be disputed, I have quirks and quibbles enough at your service, with Mr. Brazen and Mr. Attorney-General's assistance, to render it so doubtful, obscure and ambiguous, as to puzzle Lord Justice, perplex Dunning, ...
— The Fall of British Tyranny - American Liberty Triumphant • John Leacock

... consent to it, unless she preferred, for the children's sake, to live in San Francisco. A sense of a loss of independence—of a change of circumstances that left him no longer his own master—began to perplex him, in the midst of his brightest projects. Certain other relations with other members of his family, which had lapsed by absence and his insignificance, must now be taken up anew. He must do something for his sister Jane, for his brother William, for ...
— A Millionaire of Rough-and-Ready • Bret Harte

... brawls; or the way great armies of us are trained to fight,—not liking it much, and yet doing more killing in wartime and shedding more blood than even the fiercest lion on his cruelest days. Which would perplex a gentlemanly super-cat spectator the more, our habits of wholesale slaughter in the field, or our spiritless making a ...
— This Simian World • Clarence Day Jr.

... was unexpectedly replied to by another shout of "Aileen, to the rescue!" which not only arrested him in his career, but seemed to perplex the pirate greatly. ...
— Under the Waves - Diving in Deep Waters • R M Ballantyne

... sign of the cross, and observe whether he repeats it, (as, on Whitsunday,[17] he surely ought to do.) Look! he does repeat it; but the driving showers perplex the images, and that, perhaps, it is which gives him the air of one who acts reluctantly or evasively. Now, again, the sun shines more brightly, and the showers have swept off like squadrons of cavalry to the rear. We will ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 356, June, 1845 • Various

... undertake to represent upon the stage any great action or theatrical subject, he must begin by making an extract from it, of all the most picturesque situations. No other parts beside these can enter into his plan; all the others are defective or useless, they can only embarras, perplex, confound, and render ...
— A Treatise on the Art of Dancing • Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

... held in the Freemasons' Hall. This lack of a regularly-ordained clergy was partly remedied by a number of itinerant Methodist preachers or 'exhorters.' These men were described by Bishop Mountain as 'a set of ignorant enthusiasts, whose preaching is calculated only to perplex the understanding, to corrupt the morals, to relax the nerves of industry, and dissolve the bands of society.' But they gained a very strong hold on the Loyalist population; and for a long time they were familiar figures ...
— The United Empire Loyalists - A Chronicle of the Great Migration - Volume 13 (of 32) in the series Chronicles of Canada • W. Stewart Wallace

... the real trees, because the black profile in the drawing is quite stable, and does not shake, and is not confused by sparkles of luster on the leaves,) you may try the extremities of the real trees, only not doing much at a time, for the brightness of the sky will dazzle and perplex your sight. And this brightness causes, I believe, some loss of the outline itself; at least the chemical action of the light in a photograph extends much within the edges of the leaves, and, as it were, eats them away, so that no tree ...
— The Elements of Drawing - In Three Letters to Beginners • John Ruskin

... stage the universal agent is love, by whose power all good and evil is distributed, and every action quickened or retarded. To bring a lover, a lady and a rival into the fable; to entangle them in contradictory obligations, perplex them with oppositions of interest, and harrass them with violence of desires inconsistent with each other; to make them meet in rapture and part in agony; to fill their mouths with hyperbolical joy and outrageous sorrow; to distress them as nothing human ever was distressed; ...
— Preface to Shakespeare • Samuel Johnson

... often great, when means were small, Will not perplex me any more at all A few short years at most (it may be less), I shall have done ...
— The Verse-Book Of A Homely Woman • Elizabeth Rebecca Ward, AKA Fay Inchfawn

... both agreed to leave all to her father, who, in every way, ought to have the best ability to judge whether there was unreasonable presumption in such a betrothal; but this very ability only served to perplex the poor doctor more and more. It is far easier for a man to decide when he sees only one bearing of a case, than when, like Dr. May, he not only sees them, but is rent by them in his inmost heart. Sympathising in turn with each lover, bitterly accusing his own carelessness ...
— The Daisy Chain, or Aspirations • Charlotte Yonge

... congress. The powers of that body are already defined, and those powers cannot be amended, confirmed or diminished by ten thousand resolutions. Is not that the guide and rule of this legislature. A multiplicity of laws is reprobated in any society, and tend but to confound and perplex. How strange would a law appear which was to confirm a law; and how much more strange must it appear for this body to pass resolutions to confirm the constitution under which they sit! This is the case ...
— The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus • American Anti-Slavery Society

... should be accused, and justly, of talking nonsense. Yet such an assertion would not, as far as we can perceive, be more unreasonable than that which Mr Mill has here ventured to make. Without adducing one fact, without taking the trouble to perplex the question by one sophism, he placidly dogmatises away the interest of one half of the human race. If there be a word of truth in history, women have always been, and still are, over the greater part of the globe, humble ...
— The Miscellaneous Writings and Speeches of Lord Macaulay, Vol. 2 (of 4) - Contributions To The Edinburgh Review • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... Daggett; and when the deacon had not been over to perplex him, and wake up the worldly spirit in him, he was as well inclined to preparation as any sick person I ever waited on. To be sure it was different arter the deacon had paid one ...
— The Sea Lions - The Lost Sealers • James Fenimore Cooper

... may not take up thy gauntlet, Should we meet where the steel strikes fire, 'Twixt thy casque and thy charger's frontlet The choice will perplex ...
— Poems • Adam Lindsay Gordon

... descend to a comparatively low level in safety. The speed and mobility of his machine constitute his protection. He can vary his altitude, perhaps only thirty or forty feet, with ease and rapidity, and this erratic movement is more than sufficient to perplex the marksmen below, although the airman is endangered if a rafale is fired in such a manner as to ...
— Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War • Frederick A. Talbot

... they needna starve or sweat, Thro' winters cauld, or simmer's heat; They've nae sair wark to craze their banes, An' fill auld age wi' grips an' granes: But human bodies are sic fools, For a' their colleges and schools, That when nae real ills perplex them, They mak enow themsels to vex them; An' ay the less they hae to sturt them, In like proportion, less will ...
— The Complete Works of Robert Burns: Containing his Poems, Songs, and Correspondence. • Robert Burns and Allan Cunningham

... rigid figures, from the stares and smiles of the good people in white stone and black granite who throng the galleries and vestibules on the ground floor. None of them, to be sure, will follow us; but all the same they guard in force and perplex with their shadows the only way by which we can retreat, if the formidable hosts above have in store for us too ...
— Egypt (La Mort De Philae) • Pierre Loti

... opening new questions to tantalize the imagination. We find it so always. The solution of any question of our spiritual lives does not lead as perhaps we thought it would lead to there being no longer any questions to perplex us and to draw on our time and our energy; rather such solution puts us in the presence of new and, it may well be, deeper and more perplexing questions. "Are there no limits to the demands of God upon us," we sometimes despairingly ask? And the answer is, "No: there are ...
— Our Lady Saint Mary • J. G. H. Barry

... ever perplex those who confound the unhappiness of civil dissension with the crime of treason. Whenever a rebellion really and truly exists, which is as easily known in fact as it is difficult to define in words, government has not entered into ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. II. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... with a space between, as if the dust of the two sleepers had no right to mingle. Yet one tomb-stone served for both. All around, there were monuments carved with armorial bearings; and on this simple slab of slate—as the curious investigator may still discern, and perplex himself with the purport—there appeared the semblance of an engraved escutcheon. It bore a device, a herald's wording of which may serve for a motto and brief description of our now concluded legend; so sombre is it, ...
— The Scarlet Letter • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... have since ventured on similar mystifications, with even more startling results. Incredible as it may seem to those who have not looked into the subject, it is a fact that there are boys and girls—especially girls—who take a morbid delight in playing pranks that will astound and perplex their elders. The mere suggestion that Satan or a discarnate spirit is at the bottom of the mischief will then act as a powerful stimulus to the elaboration of even more sensational performances, and the result, if detection does not soon occur, will ...
— Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters • H. Addington Bruce

... is continually changing his loves, or to an husband that hath but one mistress whom he loves with a constant passion. And if you keep some measure of civility to her, he will at least esteem you; but he of the roving humour plays an hundred frolics that divert the town and perplex his wife. She often meets with her husband's mistress, and is at a loss how to carry herself towards her. 'Tis true the constant man is ready to sacrifice, every moment, his whole family to his love; he hates any place where she is not, is prodigal in what concerns his love, covetous ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. II (of 3) - Edited, With Memoir And Notes, By His Son, The Earl Of Beaconsfield • Isaac D'Israeli

... talked of and hinted at within! Did they not in this state of things, and with these circumstances, did not Governor Strong, and the federal party generally, seize hold of this alarming state of our affairs, to call the Convention at Hartford, and that not merely to perplex the government, but to be the organ of communication between the enemy and the malcontents? Did they not then talk loudly of our worm eaten Constitution; and did they not call the Union "a rope of sand," that could ...
— A Journal of a Young Man of Massachusetts, 2nd ed. • Benjamin Waterhouse

... past twenty years, have served their terms and been released? and yet what does the public know of the real inside of prisons? This used to perplex me at first. My fellow prisoners with whom I talked were bitter and voluble enough in denouncing the conditions; but no sooner had they passed the gates to freedom than they became strangely silent. Some of them even were quoted in the local papers as praising ...
— The Subterranean Brotherhood • Julian Hawthorne

... think, is sufficient reason, for rejecting his story; and yet the general truth of the descriptions, and a certain verisimilitude which marks it, might easily deceive a careless reader and perplex a critical one. These, however, are easily explained. Six years before Hennepin published his pretended discovery, his brother friar, Father Chretien Le Clercq, published an account of the Recollet missions among the Indians, under the title of "Etablissement de la Foi." This book ...
— France and England in North America, a Series of Historical Narratives, Part Third • Francis Parkman

... toys to amuse them, not sighs and kisses and bold, brown eyes to frighten and perplex them. Have you any toys to amuse me if I give you an hour ...
— Barbarians • Robert W. Chambers

... a boon to suffering humanity, or criticise any act which, in her God-given wisdom, she is led to do? But, I am sure, I have talked enough for now, although I am at your service at any time if other questions arise to perplex," she concluded, as she arose, and the little company, after a few moments spent in social converse, ...
— Katherine's Sheaves • Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

... she was not allowed to receive the Holy Communion as she desired with tears. Thus weakened by long captivity and ill usage, she, an untaught girl, was questioned repeatedly for three months, by the most cunning and learned doctors in law of the Paris University. Often many spoke at once, to perplex her mind. But Joan always showed a wisdom which confounded them, and which is at least as extraordinary as her skill in war. She would never swear an oath to answer all their questions. About herself, and all matters bearing on her own conduct, she would answer. About the king ...
— The Red True Story Book • Various

... peruse Fair nature's outspread volume: All in vain, Look'd up admiring at the dappling clouds And depths cerulean: Even as I gazed, The film—the earthly film obscured my vision, And in the lower region, sore perplex'd, Again I wander'd; and again shook off With vex'd impatience the besetting cares, And set me straight to gather as I walk'd A field-flower nosegay. Plentiful the choice; And, in few moments, of all hues I held A glowing ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 350, December 1844 • Various

... I was so transported with joy that I knew not whether I was asleep or awake; but being persuaded that I was not asleep, I recited the following words in Arabic aloud: "Call upon the Almighty, He will help thee; thou needest not perplex thyself about anything else: shut thy eyes, and while thou art asleep, God will change ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments • Anonymous

... loudly; the idea amused him, and he could imagine a man refraining from any excess that might disturb and perplex ...
— The Untilled Field • George Moore

... chambers of the heart. Let in the day". Here, then, my words have end. Yet might I tell of meetings, of farewells— Of that which came between, more sweet than each, In whispers, like the whispers of the leaves That tremble round a nightingale—in sighs Which perfect Joy, perplex'd for utterance, Stole from her [10] sister Sorrow. Might I not tell Of difference, reconcilement, pledges given, And vows, where there was never need of vows, And kisses, where the heart on one wild leap Hung tranced from all pulsation, ...
— The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson • Tennyson

... resolve before him, and having done with it, he went his way. His plan was long since laid, and was simple enough. Demetri Agryopoulo was not the man to perplex himself with details until the time came for them to be useful. When that time came he could rely upon himself for invention. And so his plan was simply to take James Leland alone, and then and there to put ...
— An Old Meerschaum - From Coals Of Fire And Other Stories, Volume II. (of III.) • David Christie Murray

... of death perplex thy fancy; But answer me to what I shall demand, With a firm temper and ...
— Venice Preserved - A Tragedy • Thomas Otway

... exclaimed, 'be kind to me, and don't perplex me like this.—Oh, my poor old boy, are you in love with ...
— Miss Bretherton • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... preacher took his tex' He look so berry much perplex' Fur nothin' come acrost his mine But ...
— Queer Stories for Boys and Girls • Edward Eggleston

... I 'm grown auld, and wi' cares I 'm perplex'd, How numerous the woes are by which I am vex'd! I 'm tentin' the kye wi' my dog, staff, and plaidie; How changed are the days since langsyne when ...
— The Modern Scottish Minstrel, Volume III - The Songs of Scotland of the Past Half Century • Various

... spirits again * * * fail too often * * * formula a certain cure (with great emphasis) * * * prescribed form * * * full conviction." The conversation then became more audible, and was carried on at considerable length. I should perplex myself and the reader by endeavouring to follow the ingenious perversity of all they said; enough, that in the course of time the visit came to an end, and Mahaina took her leave receiving affectionate embraces from all the ladies. I had remained in the background ...
— Erewhon • Samuel Butler

... but I do not allow it," and his tone implied, "You city gentlemen may think to surprise and perplex us, but we in Eastern Siberia also know what the law is, and may even teach it you." The copy of a document straight from the Emperor's own office did not have any effect on the prison inspector either. He decidedly refused to let Nekhludoff come inside the prison walls. He only ...
— Resurrection • Count Leo Tolstoy

... absurd entanglements, and the best way of dealing with them, when lo! to perplex me still more, in ran a bevy of the royal pages to ask for mtende beads—a whole sack of them; for the king wished to go with his women on a pilgrimage to the N'yanza. Thinking myself very lucky to buy the king's ear so cheaply, I sent Maula as before, adding ...
— The Discovery of the Source of the Nile • John Hanning Speke

... twisted together); complex'ion; complex'ity; perplex' (literally, to twist thoroughly—per: hence, to puzzle or ...
— New Word-Analysis - Or, School Etymology of English Derivative Words • William Swinton

... busy time with us. The season was in full roll, and our most aristocratic patients were in town. The easterly winds were bringing in their usual harvest of bronchitis and diphtheria. If I went, Jack's hands would be more than full. Had these things come to perplex us only two months earlier, I could have taken a holiday ...
— The Doctor's Dilemma • Hesba Stretton

... I timid and perplex'd Often have my spirit vex'd, Sleepless toss'd thro' all the night, Sick at heart when dawn'd the light, When heart fail'd me utterly, Hast Thou then appear'd ...
— Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs - Translated by John Kelly • Paul Gerhardt

... mirth of summer was shrill all around; Its incessant small voices like stings seem'd to sound On his sore angry sense. He stood grieving the hot Solid sun with his shadow, nor stirr'd from the spot. The last look of Lucile still bewilder'd, perplex'd, And reproach'd him. The Duke's visit goaded and vex'd. He had not yet given the letters. Again He must visit Lucile. He resolved to remain Where he was till the Duke went. In short, he would stay, Were it only to know when the Duke went away. But just as he form'd this resolve, ...
— Lucile • Owen Meredith

... heart of the shrine, a nameless sense of something impure in the whole subject; an undefinable something in his way of looking at it, which has often made the purity of men—blameless in their outer life—- sadden and perplex me almost as much as the actions and words ...
— The Power of Womanhood, or Mothers and Sons - A Book For Parents, And Those In Loco Parentis • Ellice Hopkins

... may draw as many absurd consequences as you please, and endeavour to perplex the plainest things; but you shall never persuade me out of my senses. I ...
— Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous in Opposition to Sceptics and Atheists • George Berkeley

... in this life but what is mingled with some evil; honours perplex, riches disquiet, and pleasures ruin health. But in heaven we shall find blessings in their purity, without any ingredient to embitter, ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... intervene, No artful wildness to perplex the scene; Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother, And half the platform just reflects the other. The suffering eye inverted Nature sees, Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees, With here a fountain never to be played, And there a summer-house that ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... she is," answered Foster—"one of you is enough to perplex a plain head. But will you ...
— Kenilworth • Sir Walter Scott

... it. Thus, our "unfinished feeling" represents in itself an obscure demand for a resolution of the unadjusted; it corresponds to that inner compulsion which operates upon the imperfect consciousness of the dreamer, or upon the mentality of any person seeking the solution of a problem or "perplex," either asleep, or awake—as I trust you all still remain. The present demand for the resolution of the unadjusted must be met without going deeper into the ...
— The Journal of Abnormal Psychology - Volume 10

... persuade my unwilling lips to pronounce such sounds. So I beg you not to perplex me with your German, but read ...
— Hyperion • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... were intercepted, as well as those she wrote to him. She finds herself every Day perplex'd with the Addresses of the Prince she hated; he was ever sighing at her Feet. In vain were all her reproaches, and all her Coldness, he was on the surer Side; for what he found Love would not do, Force of ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume V • Aphra Behn

... and slaves, having come to build a fort and custom-house at the Kongone. As we had no good reason to hide the harbour, but many for its being made known, we supplied him with a chart of the tortuous branches, which, running among the mangroves, perplex the search; and with such directions as would enable him to find his way down to the river. He had brought the relics of our fugitive mail, and it was a disappointment to find that all had been lost, with the exception of a bundle of old newspapers, two photographs, ...
— A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone's Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries • David Livingstone

... one in whom Nature has fix'd a Decree, Ordaining my Life to happy and free; With no Cares of the World I am never perplex'd, And never depending, I never am vex'd: I'm neither of so high nor so low a degree, But Ambition and Want are both strangers to me; My life is a compound of Freedom and Ease, I go where I will, and I work when I please: I live above Envy, and yet above Spight, And have Judgment enough for ...
— Wit and Mirth: or Pills to Purge Melancholy, Vol. 5 of 6 • Various

... perverse reluctance in me to go on with this inordinately long letter just when I have arrived at the most interesting part of it. I can't account for my own state of mind; I only know that it is so. The difficulty of describing the young lady doesn't perplex me like the difficulty of describing Mrs. Farnaby. I can see her now, as vividly as if she was present in the room. I even remember (and this is astonishing in a man) the dress that she wore. And yet I shrink from writing about her, as if there was something wrong ...
— The Fallen Leaves • Wilkie Collins

... description of cricket intelligible, much less entertaining, to the uninitiated. The veriest enthusiast never thought the forty-seven "laws of cricket" light reading, and, resembling as they do certain other statutes whose only apparent design is to perplex the inquiring layman, they would, if cited here, ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Volume 11, No. 26, May, 1873 • Various

... Lake Ontario by an overpowering naval force and seize the French forts upon it, Niagara, Frontenac, and Toronto; attack Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the one hand, and Fort Duquesne on the other, and at the same time perplex and divide the enemy by an inroad down the Chaudiere upon the settlements about Quebec.[387] The council approved the scheme; but to execute it the provinces must raise at least sixteen thousand men. This they refused to do. Pennsylvania and Virginia would take no active part, ...
— Montcalm and Wolfe • Francis Parkman

... after all; to strengthen the wickedness which would hide itself behind the sinister expression, that the "devil may not be so bad as he is painted," is to be on the side of the devil. It is to hearten the foes of good and perplex and discourage ...
— Men in the Making • Ambrose Shepherd

... intertribal habit. They held frequent intercourse, gave feasts and presents, and practised unbounded hospitality. Through this traffic objects travelled far from home, and now come forth out of the tombs to perplex archaeologists. Remembering the organization of the tribe everywhere prevalent, it is not difficult to understand that the army, or horde, that stands for the idea, was assembled on the clan basis. The number of men arrayed under one banner, the ...
— Project Gutenberg Encyclopedia

... to a reign of pure custom is this: Meaningless injunctions abound, since the value of a traditional practice does not depend on its consequences, but simply on the fact that it is the practice; and this element of irrationality is enough to perplex, till it utterly confounds, the mind capable of rising above routine and reflecting on the true aims and ends of the social life. How to break through "the cake of custom," as Bagehot has called it, is the hardest lesson that humanity ...
— Anthropology • Robert Marett

... was wrong in thinking you can multiply money by money. The multiplier must be regarded as an abstract number. It is true that two feet multiplied by two feet will make four square feet. Similarly, two pence multiplied by two pence will produce four square pence! And it will perplex the reader to say what a "square penny" is. But we will assume for the purposes of our puzzle that twopence multiplied by twopence is fourpence. Now, what two amounts of money will produce the next smallest possible result, the same in both cases, when added or multiplied ...
— Amusements in Mathematics • Henry Ernest Dudeney



Words linked to "Perplex" :   befuddle, riddle, stump, embrangle, alter, confound, mix up, confuse, elude, fox, change, discombobulate, throw, simplify, modify, escape, stick, bedevil, fuddle, snarl, dumbfound, complexify, snarl up



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