Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.

confuse the issue

To obfuscate or distract from the topic at hand by introducing irrelevant and/or misleading information. Politicians are always confusing the issue during debates by pointing out their opponents' history in other issues. Don't confuse the issue with talk about your past achievements, please stick to the question I'm asking you. His muddled explanation only served to confuse the issue further for his students.
See also: confuse, issue

confuse someone about something

to cause someone to be puzzled or bewildered about something. She confused me about the time of the concert. I wish you wouldn't confuse me about those things.
See also: confuse

confuse someone or an animal with something

to use something to bewilder or confuse someone or an animal. You have confused me with your clever talk. You confused the dog with your orders.
See also: animal, confuse

confuse (someone) with (someone else)

 and confuse (something) with (something else)
to mix someone up with someone else; to mistake someone or something with something else. I'm afraid you have confused me with my brother. Don't confuse the old ones with the new ones.
See also: confuse

mistake (someone) for (someone else)

 and mix (someone) up with (someone else)
to confuse someone with someone else; to think that one person is another person. I'm sorry. I mistook you for John. Tom is always mistaking Bill for me. We don't look a thing alike, though. Try not to mix Bill up with Bob, his twin.
See also: mistake

mistake (something) for (something else)

 and mix (something) up with (something else)
to confuse two things with each other. Please don't mix this idea up with that one. I mistook my book for yours.
See also: mistake

mistake somebody/something for somebody/something

to think that a person or thing is really someone or something else The prison buildings could almost be mistaken for a college campus.
See also: mistake

mistake for

Take someone or something for someone or something else, as in I'm sorry, I mistook you for her sister, or Don't mistake that friendly smile for good intentions; he's a tough competitor. [c. 1600]
See also: mistake

mistake for

To wrongly perceive that someone or something is someone or something else: I'm sorry to have bothered you—I mistook you for a friend of mine. Don't mistake the poison ivy for a box elder vine!
See also: mistake
References in periodicals archive ?
This mixed communication confuses people and diffuses productive energy.
It's this friction that confuses people and diffuses valuable energy.
Harry Truman said, ``If you can't convince them, confuse them.
Fans were fervid for her most famous songs: ``Shy,'' for which she got a Grammy nomination, and ``32 Flavors''; and they cheered the biting passages in a new song about ``high school kids who confuse liberty with weaponry'' that ``opens fire'' on MTV and the NRA, suggesting there's more than enough blame to go around on that topic.
Ballot arguments for and against Measure F, the city-sponsored open-space preservation measure, will be revised over concerns it might confuse voters in November, officials said Monday.
But, with differing definitions from courts and employers and water cooler talk, people confuse what is legal and illegal, what is acceptable and what is improper.
If there's anything that upsets or confuses our customers, our crew members have to address it.
Then add in some confusing bureaucratese that obscures and confuses the point.
But it confuses the reader to blame all of America's perceived economic problems on one little trade act.
It confuses an already confusing situation--between equal access, which the courts have already determined the Scouts should have, and school sponsorship of the Scouts, which makes schools complicit in perpetrating the Scouts' discrimination.
I'm going to miss Molly Ivins's page, but I love my country and my church too much to contribute to a magazine that confuses progressivism with hate.