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Chinese puzzle

1. A puzzle game consisting of intricate and complex pieces that fit together in a specific manner, especially of multiple boxes that fit inside one another. My uncle gave me this Chinese puzzle for Christmas, and I still haven't been able to solve it!
2. Any problem, question, or situation that is especially complex or difficult to understand. Dealing with growing income inequality is truly a Chinese puzzle for lawmakers today. I can't understand a thing about how this engine works, it's like a dang Chinese puzzle!
See also: Chinese, puzzle

puzzle over someone or something

to consider or ponder. I can't puzzle out the mean—someone or something. Anne is a bit strange. I've spent some time puzzling over her. While I was puzzling over why she had slapped me, she did it again.
See also: puzzle

puzzle something out

to figure something out. It took me a while to puzzle it out. I can't puzzle out the meaning of this argument.
See also: out, puzzle

puzzle out something

also puzzle something out
to study something in order to understand it The reader shouldn't have to puzzle out what the writer means.. Related vocabulary: figure out something
See also: out, puzzle

puzzle over something

to give a lot of attention and thought to something I puzzled over those words, trying to understand their hidden message.
Related vocabulary: tease out something
See also: puzzle

puzzle out

Clarify or solve something, as in It took him a while to puzzle out the significance of the statement. [Late 1700s]
See also: out, puzzle

puzzle out

To come to a conclusion or find an answer, especially as the result of a careful thought process: I puzzled out the identity of the murderer before finishing the novel. The answer escaped me at first, but I finally puzzled the problem out.
See also: out, puzzle
References in classic literature ?
Then, seeing they still looked puzzled, he added, "It was that toy magnet belonging to your nephew, Mr.
The wise heads have puzzled so sorely over truth because they went up into the air after it.
An idealistic monist who long puzzled the philosophers of that time with his denial of the existence of matter, but whose clever argument was finally demolished when the new empiric facts of science were philosophically generalized.
To say the least, he was a very puzzled Tarzan as he tried to compose himself once more for slumber--a very puzzled and a very nauseated Tarzan.
Tarzan was a bit puzzled, too, that he felt no desire to rush frantically to some place of safety, as had been the sensation most conspicuous in the other of his new and remarkable adventures.
The gorilla seemed puzzled by the strange passivity of the hairless ape.
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
This was an entry on the fly-leaf of a chap-book (one of Patrick Walker's) plainly written by my father's hand and thus conceived: "To my brother Ebenezer on his fifth birthday" Now, what puzzled me was this: That, as my father was of course the younger brother, he must either have made some strange error, or he must have written, before he was yet five, an excellent, clear manly hand of writing.
This puzzled me yet more; and a thought coming into my head, I asked if he and my father had been twins.
What puzzled and distracted him above everything was that the majority of men of his age and circle had, like him, exchanged their old beliefs for the same new convictions, and yet saw nothing to lament in this, and were perfectly satisfied and serene.