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90s Slang You Should Know


[buhng-guh l] /ˈbʌŋ gəl/
verb (used with object), bungled, bungling.
to do clumsily and awkwardly; botch:
He bungled the job.
verb (used without object), bungled, bungling.
to perform or work clumsily or inadequately:
He is a fool who bungles consistently.
a bungling performance.
that which has been done clumsily or inadequately.
Origin of bungle
First recorded in 1520-30; of uncertain origin
Related forms
bungler, noun
bunglingly, adverb
unbungling, adjective
1. mismanage, muddle, spoil, ruin; foul up. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bungle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Well, well have to admit we made a bungle of the affair all around, teased Tom.

    The Motor Boat Club in Florida H. Irving Hancock
  • "I made a false step there; but it was just like me to bungle," continued Gaston.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • Chub would be willing enough, but he would only bungle things.

    Joan of the Journal Helen Diehl Olds
  • In the first place she'll be sorry for you, because you will make such a bungle of it.

    One Day's Courtship Robert Barr
  • The Pomeranian was too scared, and bungle and Popocatepetl were too angry.

  • He must understand his position, so as not to bungle the thing.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate Freeman Wills Crofts
British Dictionary definitions for bungle


(transitive) to spoil (an operation) through clumsiness, incompetence, etc; botch
a clumsy or unsuccessful performance or piece of work; mistake; botch
Derived Forms
bungler, noun
bungling, adjective, noun
Word Origin
C16: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare dialect Swedish bangla to work without results
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
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Word Origin and History for bungle

1520s, origin obscure. OED suggests imitative; perhaps a mix of boggle and bumble, or more likely from a Scandinavian word akin to Swedish bangla "to work ineffectually," Old Swedish bunga "to strike" (cf. German Bengel "cudgel," also "rude fellow"). Related: Bungled; bungling.


1650s, from bungle (v.).


1650s, from bungle (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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