To puzzle over something is to try to understand or solve it. Picture someone struggling with a jigsaw puzzle, trying to figure out how all those tiny pieces fit together to form an image. That person is puzzling over a puzzle!

When something puzzles you, it confuses and mystifies you. New technology might continually puzzle your grandfather, while your grandmother is quick to figure it out. When you puzzle over a difficult book or the instructions to your new TV, it's like you're trying to piece together a tricky puzzle — a challenging game or problem. The classic puzzle is a jigsaw puzzle, a picture that's split into small, oddly-shaped pieces you need to reassemble into a whole. There are also logic puzzles, crossword puzzles, and mechanical puzzles like a Rubik's Cube. If you can't figure a person out, you can also call them a puzzle.

Definitions of puzzle

v be uncertain about; think about without fully understanding or being able to decide

“We puzzled over her sudden departure”
Type of:
chew over, contemplate, excogitate, meditate, mull, mull over, muse, ponder, reflect, ruminate, speculate, think over
reflect deeply on a subject

v be a mystery or bewildering to

amaze, baffle, beat, bewilder, dumbfound, flummox, get, gravel, mystify, nonplus, perplex, pose, stick, stupefy, vex
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mix up, stump
cause to be perplexed or confounded
set a difficult problem or riddle
elude, escape
be incomprehensible to; escape understanding by
defy, refuse, resist
elude, especially in a baffling way
Type of:
bedevil, befuddle, confound, confuse, discombobulate, fox, fuddle, throw
be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly

n a game that tests your ingenuity

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Chinese puzzle
intricate or ingenious puzzle consisting of boxes within boxes
jigsaw puzzle
a puzzle that requires you to reassemble a picture that has been mounted on a stiff base and cut into interlocking pieces
a Chinese puzzle consisting of a square divided into seven pieces that must be arranged to match particular designs
crossword, crossword puzzle
a puzzle in which words corresponding to numbered clues are to be found and written in to squares in the puzzle
Type of:
the game equipment needed in order to play a particular game

n a particularly baffling problem that is said to have a correct solution

“he loved to solve chessmate puzzles
mystifier, puzzler, teaser
a number puzzle in which the numbers 1 through 9 must be placed into a grid of cells so that each row or column contains only one of each number
acrostic, word square
a puzzle where you fill a square grid with words reading the same down as across
Type of:
a question raised for consideration or solution

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