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[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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bungler
Historical Examples
  • He was no bungler to attempt other than the most gently delicate methods.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Be of good heart, therefore, for you shall not fall into the hands of a bungler.'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The sloven becomes the bungler, and the bungler is on the high road to failure.

  • He did not want to run the risk of being shown up as a bungler.

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.
  • Idler or bungler, he is willing to fork out his penny and pocket your shilling.

    Pearls of Thought Maturin M. Ballou
  • They would have condemned the bungler and let the sinner go.

  • "It is not so badly made as one might expect from such a bungler," said the boy.

    The Fairy Ring Various
  • Oh, what a fool I was to side with such a bungler as you against Mr. Levi.

  • But never in all my born days have I been anything but a bungler.

  • Rachel was a botcher and a bungler, a very cobbler, beside Anne Turner.

    She Stands Accused Victor MacClure
British Dictionary definitions for bungler


(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 bungler

1530s, agent noun from bungle (v.).



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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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