How would one express that one is "confused about something"?

I was once told that no direct translation exists, as in Russia no one is confused, but jokes aside, I wonder how I would say it.

  • Indeed, it seems that there's no direct translation. Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:41
  • As you can see from the answers below, there are countless expressions in Russian that each addresses a single use-case of the much more universal confused about something Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:53

8 Answers 8


What about “Я запутался в...”?
Seems right to me.

  • 1
    I like this. In general to be confused about something is the opposite of being clear about something. This works.
    – JAM
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:46
  • 4
    “Я запутался в” means “I got confused by [something]”. This sounds extremely odd in many cases. Consider: “I'm confused by what she just said”. “Я запутался в том, что она только что сказала” doesn't seem like a good translation at all.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 23:06

The translation depends on the context,to confuse may mean смущать or путать. So to be confused is я смущен or я запутан/сбит с толку.

  • Oh, I like "сбит с толку", I think this is the best actually!
    – serg
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:48
  • сбить с толку is a great expression, though it's colloquial and does not span as many use-cases as confused about Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:51
  • +1: сбит с толку - is very close, but stronger than confused. сбит с толкуcompletely confused or confusedслегка сбит с толку
    – farfareast
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 22:06

I'm confused can be translated as я в замешательстве.

Я в замешательстве и не знаю, что происходит.

X confused me can be expressed with X привело меня в замешательство

Её слова привели меня в замешательство.

  • And how to express "about something" here? :) Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:42
  • That one is great as a separate statement. Not as great with about after it.
    – GSerg
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:42
  • "confused about" > "приводить в замешательство"
    – serg
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 21:44
  • 1
    @serg: Actually, "to be confused about smth." could rather directly be translated as "быть в замешательстве от gen.": "I am confused about her words" -> "Я [есть] в замешательстве от её слов".
    – Andriy M
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 0:04
  • @AndriyM: I would translate "I am confused about her words" - as: "Я не совсем понял что она этим хотела сказать". :-)
    – farfareast
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 2:37

I would agree no direct translation exists.

In general, you may get away with saying the subject is confusing/complex/hard/incomprehensible instead of saying you are confused by the subject:

I'm confused about tax legislation
Налоговое законодательство такое сложное

  • 2
    That's an awesome example.
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 13, 2012 at 23:07
  • These sentences have different meaning. I'm confused about tax legislation = Я запутался в налоговом законодательстве. But Налоговое законодательство такое сложное = Tax legislation is so complicated.
    – Anixx
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 19:50
  • @Anixx Speed is relative and subjective. You have no idea what your speed is unless you have something against which you can measure your speed. Similarly, complication/ease is relative and subjective. The object cannot be complicated on its own -- there absolutely must be someone who thinks the object is complicated, because the very meaning of "complicated" is "there are people who have troubles with it". If there were no sentient beings in the Universe, no object in the Universe would be "complicated," because noone could judge them as such.
    – GSerg
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 20:01
  • To clarify further: I never said these two are direct translation of each other. They are not. But this is how a Russian-speaking person would approach conveying the fact [s]he's confused about tax legislation. When you're saying something is complicated you mean it is complicated for some people. And if you say something is complicated per se, without anyone being confused about it, you're not being helpful.
    – GSerg
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 20:28
  • 1
    @GSerg: How about "Для меня налоговое законодательство такое сложное"?
    – farfareast
    Commented Dec 7, 2012 at 2:31

"I am confused about ..." does not translate well.

However, "I do not understand ... well" easily translates to "Я не очень хорошо понимаю ..." or "Я не очень хорошо разбираюсь в ...".

For example, "I do not understand tax legislation well" --> "Я не очень хорошо разбираюсь в налоговом законодательстве"

  • 1
    I had asked several Russian mathematicians how to say "I am confused" and they said there is no translation with the same general scope as in English. One of them suggested it's simplest just to say Я не понимаю.
    – KCd
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 22:43

"не разбираюсь/не уверен/не знаю" хорошо передает смысл

"сбит с толку/запутался/помогите/нужна помощь", как ни странно, тоже означает то же самое


"смущен этим" "это вызвало трудности" Если более развернуто то "я морально не готов к..."

  • 1
    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage Beta! Usually we prefer longer and more elaborated answers on short answers. If you can improve your answer by adding detail, context, examples, and backing up with references, this would increase your answer's quality. Poor and/or repetitive answers risk being down-voted and subsequently removed.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 10:51

Я сконфужен этим isn't common, but totally possible translation. It's just out of young people lexicon.

  • 4
    Сконфужен exists in Russian, but maps to embarrassed, which has additional meanings and can therefore be... confusing.
    – GSerg
    Commented Jun 14, 2012 at 9:12
  • This translation has a completely different meaning, I cannot think about a case when it would be applicable.
    – texnic
    Commented Jun 15, 2012 at 10:24

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