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bumbling

[buhm-bling]
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adjective
  1. liable to make awkward blunders: a bumbling mechanic.
  2. clumsily incompetent or ineffectual: bumbling diplomacy.
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noun
  1. the act or practice of making blunders: The bumbling of their officers cost them the battle.
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Origin of bumbling

First recorded in 1525–35; bumble1 + -ing2
Related formsbum·bling·ly, adverb

bumble1

[buhm-buh l]
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.
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verb (used with object), bum·bled, bum·bling.
  1. to do (something) clumsily; botch.
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noun
  1. an awkward blunder.
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Origin of bumble1

1525–35; perhaps blend of bungle and stumble
Related formsbum·bler, noun

bumble2

[buhm-buh l]
verb (used without object), bum·bled, bum·bling.
  1. to make a buzzing, humming sound, as a bee.
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Origin of bumble2

1350–1400; Middle English bomblen, frequentative of bomben to boom, buzz; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for bumbling

bumble1

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

Word Origin

C16: perhaps a blend of bungle + stumble

bumble2

verb
  1. (intr) to make a humming sound
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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 bumbling

bumble

v.

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

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Bumble

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper