10 Different Ways To Say You’re Speechless

Stuck in a news cycle that seems particularly shocking? Reacting to a bizarre bit of gossip? When life throws you for a loop, what exactly do you say? Chances are, nothing! Sometimes we’re caught unprepared, and even though you have thousands of words at your disposal, none of them seem quite right. Speechlessness, however, comes in varying, nuanced forms.

Here are some of the most useful synonyms for speechless you can add to your arsenal. Maybe you’ll remember them the next time you scan the headlines …


First up: befuddled. If you’re befuddled, you’re “utterly, hopelessly confused.” In fact, the word’s earliest sense specifically meant “to confuse with strong drink and opium,” although we haven’t gotten befuddled like that since our college years.


When you’re discombobulated, you’ve totally fallen apart, like someone put your head on backwards.

You’re disconcerted (we’ll get to this one next); you’re upset; you’re frustrated. Example: She became totally discombobulated when giving her presentation in front of the audience.

Fun fact: discombobulated is a 19th-century Americanism—a whimsical play off discomfort or discompose.


To feel disconcerted means that “your composure or self-possession has been thrown off.” Your feathers have been ruffled, so to speak.

Either way, you’re distracted, something’s out of whack, and, in general, you’re just not feeling like your centered self. Example: She was disconcerted by the sudden attack on her integrity.


You know that feeling of being stunned, incapable of forming words? That’s what it feels like to be dumbfoundedDumbfounded means “to make speechless with amazement; astonish.” It began as a portmanteau of dumb and confound, arising in the 1650s. An example might be, After listening to the President’s speech, I was completely dumbfounded.


On a related note: the word dumbstruck is synonymous with dumbfounded, hence why it’s in this slideshow of synonyms. Thanks, Thesaurus!

It’s used to describe that feeling of being “temporarily deprived of the power of speech, as if by surprise or confusion.” (Dumb, in this sense, as mute). You might find yourself dumbstruck by the beauty of a tropical sunset or by the brashness of someone’s extra rude behavior.


Anyone who’s been thrown an unexpected surprise birthday party has felt this next one. To be flabbergasted is “to be completely overtaken with surprise and bewilderment.”

The word is likely an invention–an arbitrary combination of flappy (or flapper) and aghast.


Flummoxed means “bewildered, confounded, and confused.” It may not be in heavy use, but we strongly encourage you to frequently weave it into casual conversation.

The Oxford English Dictionary suggests the word may have started out as onomatopoeic, expressing the sense of “throwing down roughly and untidily.”


You may not hear nonplussed bandied about regularly in everyday speech, but it’s a literary favorite.

When someone’s nonplussed, they’re in “a state of utter perplexity.” They’re completely puzzled. Quick cut to a dog tilting its head quizzically and you’ll get the meaning of this word.

It comes from the Latin meaning n?n pl?s, meaning “no more, no further.” In other words: nothing more can be said or done.


A person who is thunderstruck is “overcome with consternation; confounded; astounded.” They’re completely taken aback.

This word is not commonly used to refer to someone who has actually been struck by lightning, however. You could, though, describe them as incredibly lucky.


Have you ever turned the corner only to stand face-to-face with a celebrity you grew up idolizing? Neither have we, but we imagine you’d be pretty tongue-tied if it happened to you. Tongue-tied means you’re “unable to speak, as from shyness, embarrassment, or surprise.” If you find yourself tongue-tied, you can’t even pull it together to get the words out. The term comes from the actual congenital condition, tongue-tie, which is having a shortened frenum (that band underneath your tongue binding it to the floor of your mouth) and, therefore, limited tongue mobility.

For even more spectacular synonyms for speechless, visit Thesaurus.com

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