Words related to bewilder


word-forming element of verbs and nouns from verbs, with a wide range of meaning: "about, around; thoroughly, completely; to make, cause, seem; to provide with; at, on, to, for;" from Old English be- "about, around, on all sides" (the unstressed form of bi "by;" see by (prep.)). The form has remained by- in stressed positions and in some more modern formations (bylaw, bygones, bystander).

The Old English prefix also was used to make transitive verbs and as a privative prefix (as in behead). The sense "on all sides, all about" naturally grew to include intensive uses (as in bespatter "spatter about," therefore "spatter very much," besprinkle, etc.). Be- also can be causative, or have just about any sense required. The prefix was productive 16c.-17c. in forming useful words, many of which have not survived, such as bethwack "to thrash soundly" (1550s) and betongue "to assail in speech, to scold" (1630s).

wilderness (n.)

c. 1200, "wild, uninhabited, or uncultivated place," with -ness + Old English wild-deor "wild animal, wild deer;" see wild (adj.) + deer (n.). Similar formation in Dutch wildernis, German Wildernis, though the usual form there is Wildnis.

bewildered (adj.)

"confused as to direction or situation; having been led into perplexity or confusion," 1680s, past-participle adjective from bewilder (q.v.). Related: Bewilderedness.

bewildering (adj.)

"confusing, disorienting, perplexing," 1761, present-participle adjective from bewilder. Related: Bewilderingly.

bewilderment (n.)

1789, "state or condition of being bewildered," from bewilder + -ment; the meaning "thing or situation which bewilders" is from 1840.