Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 11, 2021 is:
nonplus nahn-PLUS verb
: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex
The student’s unexpected about-face during the class discussion nonplussed the teacher.
“Lattimer and Warnick are suitably nonplussed when the Coveys’ nemesis arrives in the form of a rather robotic 19-year-old, dressed like an exorcist in his long overcoat and wide-brimmed hat, clearly unpracticed in social customs.” — Melinda Miller, The Buffalo (New York) News, 16 Apr. 2021
Did you know?
Does nonplus perplex you? You aren’t alone. Some people believe the non in nonplus means “not,” and assume that to be nonplussed is to be calm and poised, but in fact the opposite is true. If you are among the baffled, the word’s history may clarify things. In Latin, non plus means “no more.” When nonplus debuted in English in the 16th century, it was used as a noun synonymous with quandary. Someone brought to a nonplus had reached an impasse in an argument and could say no more. In short time, people began applying nonplus as a verb, and today it is often used in participial form with the meaning “perplexed” (as in “Joellen’s strange remark left us utterly nonplussed”).