befog
Verb

befog (befogs, present participle befogging; past and past participle befogged)

  1. To envelop in fog or smoke.
    • 1916, E. F. Benson, “The Spiritual Pastor” in The Freaks of Mayfair, London: T.N. Foulis, p. 186,
      Clouds of the most expensive incense befog the chancel […]
    • 1953, Jean Stafford, “Cops and Robbers” (original title: “The Shorn Lamb”) in The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford, New York: Dutton, 1984, p. 432,
      Sad, in her covert, Hannah saw that her mother was now sitting straight against the headboard and was smoking a cigarette in long, meditative puffs; the smoke befogged her frowning forehead.
  2. To confuse, mystify (a person); to make less acute or perceptive, to cloud (a person’s faculties).
    • 1871, Carl Schurz, Speech in the U.S. Senate, 27 January, 1871, in Frederic Bancroft (ed.), Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, New York: Putnam, 1913, Volume II, p. 151,
      The voice of interested sycophancy is apt to fill their ears and to befog their judgment.
    • 1921, Harold MacGrath, The Pagan Madonna, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, Chapter 14, p. 177,
      “ […] He’s been blarneying you. You’ve let his plausible tongue and handsome face befog you.”
    • 1938, Rabindranath Tagore, “Worshippers of Buddha” in The Visva-Bharati University Quarterly, Volume 4, Part 1, May–July 1938, p. 28,
      […] they pray that they may befog minds with untruths
      and poison God’s sweet air of breath,
    • 1981, Ramsey Campbell, The Nameless, New York: Tor, 1985, Chapter Eight, p. 75,
      Everything looked gray and shabby, the faces as much as the clothes. She thought it was less the shade than the noise which was befogging her vision, choking her thoughts.
  3. To obscure, make less clear (a subject, issue, etc.).
    • 1880, Henry Adams, Democracy: An American Novel, Chapter 5,
      How they had managed to befog the subject! What elaborate show-structures they had built up, with no result but to obscure the horizon!
    • 1918, John H. Stokes, The Third Great Plague: A Discussion of Syphilis for Everyday People, Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, Chapter 2, pp. 15-16,
      There is only one way to understand syphilis, and that is to give it impartial, discriminating discussion as an issue which concerns the general health. To color it up and hang it in a gallery of horrors, or to befog it with verbal turnings and twistings, are equally serious mistakes.



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