- to struggle with stumbling or plunging movements (usually followed by about, along, on, through, etc.): He saw the child floundering about in the water.
- to struggle clumsily or helplessly: He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.
Origin of flounder1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for floundering
His November 2007 Jefferson-Jackson Dinner speech in Iowa jump-started a floundering campaign.President Obama’s Belgian Waffle
March 27, 2014
There between the third and fourth version of “Sheep in Fog” is the shift that sets Plath floundering and signals her desperation.Sylvia Plath’s Darkest Sea: What an Unveiled Draft Poem Reveals
May 3, 2013
In this case, Santorum received a major assist from Ron Paul, who left Romney floundering in an embarrassingly weak third.Rick Santorum Reshuffles the GOP Primary Deck With MN, MO Wins
February 8, 2012
When she graduated from Mount Holyoke College, leaving behind an undistinguished record, she was floundering.What Wendy Knew
August 31, 2011
But it may be a little less valuable than it seemed until recently, unless a floundering economy dooms the current president.The Right's 2012 Vacancy
January 27, 2011
Can't you see you're all just floundering in a perfect swamp of ignorance?The Harbor
The moment I begin to think about that sort of thing I feel that I am floundering.His Masterpiece
He descended the path to the cove, floundering through the wet bushes.The Woman-Haters
Joseph C. Lincoln
Every one of these had to come back after floundering in the mountains for weeks.Ox-Team Days on the Oregon Trail
Now God be praised that there is a chance of fighting rather than floundering!Standish of Standish
Jane G. Austin
- to struggle; to move with difficulty, as in mud
- to behave awkwardly; make mistakes
- the act of floundering
- Also called: fluke a European flatfish, Platichthys flesus having a greyish-brown body covered with prickly scales: family Pleuronectidae : an important food fish
- US and Canadian any flatfish of the families Bothidae (turbot, etc) and Pleuronectidae (plaice, halibut, sand dab, etc)
Word Origin and History for floundering
1590s, perhaps an alteration of founder (q.v.), influenced by Dutch flodderen "to flop about," or native verbs in fl- expressing clumsy motion. Figurative use is from 1680s. Related: Floundered; floundering. As a noun derived from this sense, from 1867.
flatfish, c.1300, from Anglo-French floundre, from Old North French flondre, from Old Norse flydhra; related to Middle Low German vlundere, Danish flynder; ultimately cognate with Greek platys "flat, wide, broad" (see plaice (n.)).