- to make or become confused.
- to make or become rotten, as eggs.
- mentally confused; muddled.
- rotten: addle eggs.
Origin of addle
Examples from the Web for addle
My head, too, is as addle as an egg this morning, with dining abroad yesterday.The Letters of Robert Burns
The fumes of the wine were mounting steadily to addle his indifferent brains.The Snare
My strong ale must have got into your addle pate with a vengeance.Windsor Castle
William Harrison Ainsworth
One drink will addle a person's wits and the second will act as an antidote.Death Makes A Mistake
"Don't sit on them with your head downward, or you'll addle them," said Mr. Brush, fiercely.Peg Woffington
- to make or become confused or muddled
- to make or become rotten
- (in combination) indicating a confused or muddled stateaddle-brained; addle-pated
- Northern English dialect to earn (money or one's living)
Word Origin and History for addle
1712, from addle (n.) "urine, liquid filth," from Old English adela "mud, mire, liquid manure" (cognate with Old Swedish adel "urine," Middle Low German adel, Dutch aal "puddle").
Used in noun phrase addle egg (mid-13c.) "egg that does not hatch, rotten egg," literally "urine egg," a loan-translation of Latin ovum urinum, which is itself an erroneous loan-translation of Greek ourion oon "putrid egg," literally "wind egg," from ourios "of the wind" (confused by Roman writers with ourios "of urine," from ouron "urine"). Because of this usage, from c.1600 the noun in English was taken as an adjective meaning "putrid," and thence given a figurative extension to "empty, vain, idle," also "confused, muddled, unsound" (1706). The verb followed a like course. Related: Addled; addling.