- to feel or grope about clumsily: She fumbled in her purse for the keys.
- Sports. to fumble the ball.
- to make, handle, etc., clumsily or inefficiently: to fumble an attempt; He fumbled his way through the crowded room.
- Sports. to fail to hold or maintain hold on (a ball) after having touched it or carried it.
- the act of fumbling: We completed the difficult experiment without a fumble.
- Sports. an act or instance of fumbling the ball.
Origin of fumble
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fumbling
Huckabee framed the situation this way: “We are fumbling on multiple fronts.”Iowa Frontrunner Mike Huckabee Talks to The Daily Beast
September 22, 2014
Season one of OITNB chronicled her clumsy, fumbling attempts to get her legs under her so she could run for safety.‘Orange Is the New Black’ Season Two Is More Bingeworthy Than the First
May 16, 2014
By fumbling that final big decision, Ferguson may have tarnished his legacy forever.David Moyes: The Vanity of Alex Ferguson
April 23, 2014
But on the IRS story, there was systematic "fumbling" in the West Wing.The White House and the IRS: A Carteresque Fiasco
May 28, 2013
Fumbling over the words, he shouts, “This goddammed stutter!”‘Hyde Park on Hudson’: Is Bill Murray as FDR an Oscar Frontrunner?
September 2, 2012
We are, on the contrary, fumbling and wallowing about where the Greek pondered and philosophized.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
He had taken his hand away from his breast, and was fumbling with it on the grass behind him.In the Valley
"About fifty dollars, I think," said the travelling man, fumbling for his wallet.The Fortune Hunter
Louis Joseph Vance
"I got it 'ere," responded the sailor hastily, fumbling with his tie.
In another instant, fumbling in the darkness, he found the bolts and drove them home.
- (intr; often foll by for or with) to grope about clumsily or blindly, esp in searchinghe was fumbling in the dark for the money he had dropped
- (intr; foll by at or with) to finger or play with, esp in an absent-minded way
- to say or do hesitantly or awkwardlyhe fumbled the introduction badly
- to fail to catch or grasp (a ball, etc) cleanly
- the act of fumbling
Word Origin and History for fumbling
mid-15c., "handle clumsily," possibly from Old Norse falma "to fumble, grope." Similar words in Scandinavian and North Sea Germanic suggest onomatopoeia from a sound felt to indicate clumsiness (cf. bumble, stumble, and obsolete English famble, fimble of roughly the same meaning). Related: Fumbled; fumbling.
1640s, from fumble (v.).