• IPA: /kənˈfaʊnd/

confound (confounds, present participle confounding; past and past participle confounded)

  1. To perplex or puzzle.
    Synonyms: puzzle
    • 1830, Joseph Smith, Jr., Book of Mormon: Ether, i, 34,
      And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.
  2. To fail to see the difference; to mix up; to confuse right and wrong.
    Synonyms: confuse, mix up
    • 1651 (Latin edition 1642), Thomas Hobbes, De Cive (Latin title) Philosophicall Rudiments Concerning Government and Society (English),
      Hey who lesse seriously consider the force of words, doe sometimes confound Law with Counsell, sometimes with Covenant, sometimes with Right. They confound Law with Counsell, who think, that it is the duty of Monarchs not onely to give ear to their Counsellours, but also to obey them, as though it were in vaine to take Counsell, unlesse it were also followed.
  3. To make something worse.
    Don't confound the situation by yelling.
    • 1983, Carol M. Anderson, Susan Stewart, Mastering Resistance: A Practical Guide to Family Therapy,
      While she had obeyed him, smiling sweetly all the time, she had nursed a growing resentment of what she called his "Latin American macho attitude." To confound the problem, his mother, who lived with them on and off, was described by the wife as being as domineering as her son.
  4. To combine in a confused fashion; to mingle so as to make the parts indistinguishable.
  5. To cause to be ashamed; to abash.
    His actions confounded the skeptics.
  6. To defeat, to frustrate, to thwart.
    • 1769, King James Bible, Oxford Standard text, 1 Corinthians, i, 27,
      But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
    • , God Save the Queen,
      O Lord, our God, arise, / Scatter thine enemies, / And make them fall / Confound their politics, / Frustrate their knavish tricks, / On thee our hopes we fix: / God save us all.
    • 1848 February 12, John Mitchel, The United Irishman, Letter to Lord Clarendon,
      I am now, in order the better to confound your politics, going to give you a true account of the means we intend to use, and of the rules, signs, and pass-words of our new United Irish Society Lodge A. 1.—They are so simple that you will never believe them.
  7. (dated) To damn (a mild oath).
    Confound you!
    Confound the lady!
    • 1882, Arthur Conan Doyle, My Friend the Murderer in The Gully of Bluemansdyke and Other Stories,
      "Number 43 is no better, Doctor," said the head-warder, in a slightly reproachful accent, looking in round the corner of my door.
      "Confound 43!" I responded from behind the pages of the Australian Sketcher.
    • 1877, Anna Sewell, Black Beauty Chapter 23
      "Confound these bearing reins!" he said to himself; "I thought we should have some mischief soon—master will be sorely vexed;
  8. (archaic) To bring to ruination.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 51–53:
      ... he with his horrid crew
      Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe
      Confounded though immortal.
  9. To stun, amaze
Translations Translations
  • Russian: пу́тать
Translations Translations
  • Russian: посрамлять
Translations Translations Translations
  • German: durchkreuzen
  • German: zunichte machen

confound (plural confounds)

  1. (statistics) A confounding variable.
    Synonyms: confounder
    • 2009, C. James Goodwin, Research In Psychology: Methods and Design, John Wiley & Sons (ISBN 9780470522783), page 175 ↗:
      The participants certainly differ in how their practice is distributed (1, 2, or 3 days), but they also differ in how much total practice they get (3, 6, or 9 hours). This is a perfect example of a confound—it is impossible to tell if the results are due to one factor (distribution of practice) or the other (total practice hours); the two factors covary perfectly.

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