See also: non-plussed


1899 Welsh political cartoon, showing a bewildered inventor, entitled Non-plussed.


From an earlier verb form of nonplus, from Latin nōn plūs (no more, no further), early 1600s.[1][2]



nonplussed (comparative more nonplussed, superlative most nonplussed)

  1. Bewildered; unsure how to respond or act. [from 17th c.]
    • 1724, Daniel Defoe, Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress:
      Note, the honest Quaker was nonplussed, and greatly surprised at that question.
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 16]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare & Co.; Sylvia Beach, OCLC 560090630; republished London: Published for the Egoist Press, London by John Rodker, Paris, October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      For the nonce he was rather nonplussed but inasmuch as the duty plainly devolved upon him to take some measures on the subject he pondered suitable ways and means during which Stephen repeatedly yawned.
    • 2000, Marcia Miller & Martin Lee, Vocabulary, Word of the Day
      "Dad was so nonplussed by the new VCR that he gave up and asked Mom to set it for him".
  2. (proscribed, US, informal) Unfazed, unaffected, or unimpressed. [from 20th c.]
    • 2002 April 14, Debra Pickett, “SUNDAY LUNCH WITH”, in Chicago Sun-Times, page 24:
      And while many of us might be a little taken aback if Mom showed up at our offices, Secrist is utterly nonplussed, even happy about it.
    • 2003 September, Gerald F. Kreyche, “John Charles Fremont; and the Exploration of the American West.”, in USA Today Magazine, volume 132, number 2700, page 52-57:
      One can not help but wonder how the unnecessary death of 10 men sat on Fermont's conscience. From all appearances, he seemed nonplussed and never was remorseful or contrite.
    • 2004 June, Jane McConnell, “Head Out!”, in Sunset, volume 212, number 6, page 140:
      My screams woke everyone [] . My brother-in-law, Mike, was nonplussed: “Why would you get excited over a little bug like that?”

Usage notesEdit

In recent North American English nonplussed has acquired the alternative meaning of "unimpressed".[1] In 1999, this was considered a neologism, ostensibly from "not plussed", although "plussed" by itself is not a recognized English word. The "unimpressed" meaning is proscribed as nonstandard by at least one authoritative source.[3]





  1. simple past tense and past participle of nonplus


  1. 1.0 1.1 “nonplussed”, in The Mavens' Word of the Day[1] (in English), 1999-12-21, archived from the original on 2013-11-13, retrieved 2006-09-26
  2. ^ Mark Liberman (2008-08-06), “Nonplussed about nonplussed”, in Language Log[2] (in English), retrieved 2015-12-08
  3. ^ “nonplussed”, in askOxford[3] (in English), 2006, archived from the original on 2008-09-16, retrieved 2007-04-20