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perplex
used in Moby Dick

3 uses
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Definition
to confuse
  • Stripped to our shirts and drawers, we sprang to the white-ash, and after several hours' pulling were almost disposed to renounce the chase, when a general pausing commotion among the whales gave animating token that they were now at last under the influence of that strange perplexity of inert irresolution, which, when the fishermen perceive it in the whale, they say he is gallied.
    Chapters 85-87 -- The Fountain; The Tail; The Grand Armada (66% in)
  • It may be but an idle whim, but it has always seemed to me, that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by some whales when beset by three or four boats; the timidity and liability to queer frights, so common to such whales; I think that all this indirectly proceeds from the helpless perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically opposite powers of vision must involve them.
    Chapters 73-75 -- Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; The Sperm Whale's Head, The Right Whale's Head (62% in)
  • ...other boat's crews, at the same time, but on the other hand, separated from the ship during the dark vicissitudes of the chase, there had been still another son; as that for a time, the wretched father was plunged to the bottom of the cruellest perplexity; which was only solved for him by his chief mate's instinctively adopting the ordinary procedure of a whale-ship in such emergencies, that is, when placed between jeopardized but divided boats, always to pick up the majority first.
    Chapters 127-129 -- The Deck; The Pequod meets the Rachel; The Cabin--Ahab and Pip (60% in)

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