Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
confuse about (something)
To puzzle or make uncertain about something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "confuse" and "about." I wasn't trying to confuse my students about sine and cosine, but it seems that I have. I'm sorry I'm so early—I must have been confused about the party's start time.
confuse (someone or something) with (someone or something)
1. To puzzle or perplex a person or animal by doing something in particular. I wasn't trying to confuse my students with my lesson on sine and cosine, but it seems that I have. If you're not consistent, you'll just end up confusing your dog with your commands.
2. To mistake someone or something for someone or something else. People are always confusing me with my sister because we look so much alike. Oh, I'm not a biology major—you must be confusing me with my roommate. Please don't confuse the pile of clothes I'm donating with the pile of ones I'm keeping.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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!