puzzle(redirected from puzzles)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to puzzles: riddles
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!
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.
puzzle out somethingalso 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
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
Clarify or solve something, as in It took him a while to puzzle out the significance of the statement. [Late 1700s]
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.