• synonyms


[buhm-buh l]
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verb (used without object), bum·bled, bum·bling.
  1. to bungle or blunder awkwardly; muddle: He somehow bumbled through two years of college.
  2. to stumble or stagger.
  3. to speak in a low, stuttering, halting manner; mumble.
verb (used with object), bum·bled, bum·bling.
  1. to do (something) clumsily; botch.
  1. an awkward blunder.

Origin of bumble1

1525–35; perhaps blend of bungle and stumble
Related formsbum·bler, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bumbler

Historical Examples

  • But here comes the Bumbler, and now for the agony of the entertainment.

    Ask Momma

    R. S. Surtees

  • Monsieur, we may observe, had completely superseded the Bumbler, just as a colonel supersedes a captain on coming up.

    Ask Momma

    R. S. Surtees

British Dictionary definitions for bumbler


  1. to speak or do in a clumsy, muddled, or inefficient wayhe bumbled his way through his speech
  2. (intr) to proceed unsteadily; stumble
  1. a blunder or botch
Derived Formsbumbler, nounbumbling, noun, adjective

Word Origin

C16: perhaps a blend of bungle + stumble


  1. (intr) to make a humming sound

Word Origin

C14 bomblen to buzz, boom, of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bumbler



"to flounder, blunder," 1530s, probably of imitative origin. Related: Bumbled; bumbler; bumbling.


"self-important petty official," 1856, from the name of the fussy, pompous, stupid beadle in Dickens' "Oliver Twist."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper