Nonplussed

Vocabulary pop-quiz:

What does "nonplussed" mean?

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Definition: nonplussed: “To put at a loss as to what to think, say, or do; bewilder. A state of perplexity, confusion, or bewilderment.”

So the right answer is “perplexed,” but if experience is any teacher, the majority of people will have chosen “unimpressed” before reading this. We’ll see what the poll says…

Music: Yes :: The Fish

6 Replies to “Nonplussed”

  1. For additional fun you could have added second question to the poll: ‘Native Speaker? Yes/No’, and then correlated the results :-)

  2. It’s only very recently that I discovered the actual meaning of that word. Up until then I’d have been in the majority, thinking it meant unimpressed. After I discovered what it actually meant I decided it was a stupid word. I’m not sure why but it just SOUNDS like it should mean unimpressed.

  3. In addition to ‘native speaker’ I think you should sub-divide into English or American 8-)

    Then we could get into a real discussion of language 8-)

    Andrew 8-)

    P.S. Sorry Scot no excuse for a whilst !

  4. i, I’ve been thinking about what it is about the word that makes it sound like it means unimpressed. First of all, non- maps naturally to un- . Plus sounds like press and also implies “more” or “greater” which is a bit like impress. The word is one big linguistic garden path!

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