Contact us with your California corporate & securities law questions (949) 353-6347 or Contact us here

Have You Ever Been Plussed?

Recently, I came to consider the potential ambiguity in the word "nonplussed".  The word originally meant to be confused or perplexed, as in:

"Defense counsel, undoubtedly nonplussed, attempted to challenge the unexpected identification by asking, 'Now, you told me a few minutes ago when I talked to you that this looked like the man but it wasn't the man?'"

People v. Jackson, 187 Cal. App. 3d 499, 508, 231 Cal. Rptr. 889, 895 (1986).  This meaning is consistent with the word's etymology.  It is a combination of the Latin words, non plus, meaning nothing more.  Someone is perplexed when they can think of nothing more to do or say.

Some courts, however, use the word to mean unperturbed, as in:

"The gun jammed. Nonplussed, he herded his companions back into the car and the three men continued their meanderings."

United States v. Bradshaw, 281 F.3d 278, 281 (2002).  Undoubtedly, courts deploying the word in this manner assume that "plus" must mean perturbed and therefore a nonplussed person is not perturbed.  

Share on:

California Sui Generis

ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING CALIFORNIA CORPORATE AND SECURITIES LAW? CONTACT US DIRECTLY

We offer expert advice with the intricacies of California law.

Our years of experience and expertise allow us to help clients navigate the business laws in California.

CONTACT US

Get the latest news and analysis about California Corporate & Securities law. Subscribe to our newsletter today!

We respect your email privacy

ABOUT OUR AUTHOR

30172DBAB0084D3A8F39D7AF0A8E79BC.ashx Keith Paul Bishop
Partner at Allen Matkins
(949) 353-6328
 Contact me
Learn More About Keith

nominee-badge

Get the latest news and analysis about California Corporate & Securities law. Subscribe to our newsletter today!

We respect your email privacy

CATEGORIES

see all

RECOGNITION

YOUTUBE

FACEBOOK