The Meaning of Flustered: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever been puzzled by the definition of flustered? This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the word flustered, including its definition, etymology, synonyms and antonyms, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word flustered mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary as well as other dictionary apps, the word flustered is an adjective that describes something that is in a state of agitated confusion. People often describe themselves or others as flustered when they are in a tizzy, rushed, or discombobulated. One can become easily flustered when things go wrong. The word flustered has a few different alternate forms. First there is the verb, fluster. Next there is the adjective flusteredly. There are also different forms of the verb fluster which include flustering and flustered as a past tense form of the verb.

People can be described as flustered in a certain moment, or they can be flustered in a sense of their constitution or personality. Someone might be flustered running into their first day at a new job late and looking disheveled, because their train broke down and they had to run ten blocks to the office. Someone might be generally flustered because they are a disorganized person. Someone might become flustered by something; you might know calculus like the back of your hand, but as soon as there is a test in front of you and a timer going, you become flustered and forget all of the material. Flustered is a very popular informal term to describe people who are upset and confused, aften hurried or discombobulated.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word flustered?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the word flustered. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the definition as another word or phrase. Someone might choose to use a synonym for the word flustered if they want to expand their vocabulary or avoid repeating themselves. This list of synonyms for the word flustered is provided by Thesaurus

  • make waves
  • upset
  • frustrate
  • heat
  • nonplus
  • get to
  • discombobulate
  • puzzle
  • perturb
  • unhinge
  • fuddle
  • flip
  • perplex
  • rattle
  • disquiet
  • disconcert
  • muddle
  • discompose
  • disturb
  • stir up
  • ruffle
  • addle
  • craze
  • spook
  • hurry
  • mystify
  • throw off balance
  • hassle
  • flurry
  • confuse
  • psych
  • bother
  • make nervous
  • bewilder
  • work up
  • distract
  • agitate
  • confound
  • excite

If someone wanted to use a word that is the opposite of the word flustered, they could use an antonym. An antonym is a word or phrase that has the opposite definition as another word or phrase. This list of antonyms for the word flustered is also provided by Thesaurus.

  • slacken
  • becalm
  • repress
  • regulate
  • reconcile
  • ease
  • simmer down
  • soften
  • quell
  • ease up
  • resolve
  • still
  • assuage
  • pacify
  • tune down
  • let up
  • lull
  • adjust
  • check
  • console
  • mitigate
  • quiet
  • contain
  • comfort
  • smother
  • temper
  • hold in
  • arrange
  • appease
  • soothe
  • balm
  • re-collect
  • cool
  • collect
  • restrain
  • moderate
  • control
  • lessen
  • modulate
  • suppress
  • placate
  • compose
  • solace
  • allay
  • rein
  • relax
  • tranquilize
  • settle

How can the word flustered be used in a sentence?

The word flustered is a very common word and can be used in a variety of different circumstances. In this first example, Natalie is talking to her English teacher about her poor grade on an in-class timed essay.

Ms. St. James: Natalie, what happened here? You normally write so beautifully. Every take-home essay I’ve given you has been amazing. Didn’t you prepare? I know you read the book; you had a great in-class discussion about it.

Natalie: I don’t know what happened. Whenever I write at home, or whenever I have to talk about the book I’m completely fine. But as soon as that timer starts, I just get so flustered. It’s been the same way in math for as long as I can remember. 100% on the homework, terrible grades on the tests.

Ms. St. James: I see. The same thing used to happen to me. I’m going to give you a packet of exercises you can peruse before our next in-class essay. And if it would make you feel better to take the test in a separate room, I can arrange that. You’re a talented writer, Natalie, and I don’t want to see these in-class essays bring down your GPA.

Here, Natalie describes how she gets flustered by in-class essays and tests. In this next example, Nikki is late for work and runs into her coworker Erik in the breakroom. 

Erik: Whoa, Nikki. Why so flustered?

Nikki: I’m flustered because I left early today and I was supposed to have a nice, peaceful morning. I got myself a special coffee. I was listening to my self-help book on the train. The train which broke down, spilling my $6 coffee all over me and making me run here to make my 9AM meeting covered in caramel macchiato.

Erik: Yikes.

What is the etymology of the word flustered?

According to Etymonline, the word flustered has been used since the early 15th century. The word flustered, which is implied in flostrynge, means to bluster or agitate, and is likely from some Scandinavian origin. This word is similar to the Icelandic flaustr or flaustra, meaning bustle and to bustle, respectively. This is from the Proto-Germanic flaustra, which is likely from the roots pleud and pleu, which initially meant to excite. The sense of the word meaning to flurry or confuse is from 1724. Related words from the same root include fluster, flustered, flustering, and flustery, which are all different forms of the word fluster. The word has been used as a noun since the year 1710.

Overall, the word flustered is an adjective that is used to describe someone who is in a state of agitated confusion. The word flustered is most often used to describe people. The word flustered is of Scandinavian origin. People can either be flustered in a certain moment or triggered by an event, or they can be generally flustered as their personality or constitution. 

Sources:

  1. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/flustered
  2. https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/compose
  3. https://www.etymonline.com/word/fluster
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flustered