April 05, 2013
nonplus (verb)
\nahn-PLUSS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex
How do you use it?
When I told the college counselor that I had decided not to go to college, she was nonplussed and eventually stammered out a reply.
Are you a word wiz?

From what language do you think English borrowed "nonplus"?

We hope you aren't nonplussed that the answer is Latin. "Nonplus" first came into English in the late 1500s directly from the Latin phrase "non plus," which means "no more." The Latin phrase was borrowed into English first as a noun that referred to being confused or baffled, and was shortly after that made into a verb. How did we get from "no more" to "perplexed"? If a person is trying to puzzle out something strange, they can't take any more information in because they are still stuck on that one odd thing.
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