October 14, 2012
perplex (verb)
\per-PLEKS\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : to block the understanding of; especially : confuse, bewilder2 : to make difficult to understand : complicate
How do you use it?
"They keep coming up new all the time--things to perplex you, you know. You settle one question and there's another right after. There are so many things to be thought over and decided when you're beginning to grow up." (Lucy Maud Montgomery, _Anne of Green Gables_)
Are you a word wiz?

"Perplex" comes ultimately from the Latin verb "plectere." Judging from what you know about the word "perplex," what do you think "plectere" means?

Don't let the question perplex you "plectere" means "to braid." Several English words derive from "plectere" and convey entanglement and intricacy, as if they must be pulled apart. "Perplex" is a combination of "per-," meaning "thoroughly," and "plexus" (from "plectere"), which means "involved." "Complex" traces to Latin "complexus," from "complecti," an offspring of "plectere" meaning "comprised of a multitude of objects." And the English word "plexus" is taken directly from the Latin "plexus" an offspring of "plectere" -- and means "an interwoven combination of parts in a structure or system."
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