- to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
- to cause to become mentally confused.
- to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
- to make muddy or turbid, as water.
- to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
- Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.
- to behave, proceed, or think in a confused or aimless fashion or with an air of improvisation: Some people just muddle along, waiting for their big break.
- the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mental state.
- a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.
- muddle through, to achieve a certain degree of success but without much skill, polish, experience, or direction: None of us knew much about staging a variety show, so we just had to muddle through.
Origin of muddle
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for muddle
Meanwhile, the muddle in Malaysia makes it far harder for the searchers to know where to look.The Botched Hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
March 12, 2014
That common denominator gets lost in the muddle, sometimes, when we talk about fashion.Tilda Swinton and Oliver Saillard Perform the Creation of Fashion in ‘Eternity Dress’
November 21, 2013
Governments manage to muddle through much more often than you think they possibly can.Euro Crisis: Reheated
February 27, 2013
As it is, it looks like Israel is set to continue to muddle along on its way to its own ruin.Yair Lapid Is No Cause For Optimism
Emily L. Hauser
January 23, 2013
For the most part, however, he gives every sign of trying to muddle along.How Obama Got Fierce on Foreign Policy: James Mann’s 'The Obamians'
June 15, 2012
"He can advise us and help us to put the muddle right," said Mrs. Ware.Viviette
William J. Locke
Paris was going on—all that muddle and maze of worried people.The Incomplete Amorist
You merely come here because Mr. Kenyon is in a muddle about what I am going to do.A Woman Intervenes
Philip would have a spasm of horror at the muddle he had made.Where Angels Fear to Tread
E. M. Forster
These books are only good to muddle your head and make you jumpy.Typhoon
- (often foll by up) to mix up (objects, items, etc); jumble
- to confuse
- to make (water) muddy or turbulent
- US to mix or stir (alcoholic drinks, etc)
- a state of physical or mental confusion
Word Origin and History for muddle
1590s, "destroy the clarity of" (a transferred sense); literal sense ("to bathe in mud") is from c.1600; perhaps frequentative formation from mud, or from Dutch moddelen "to make (water) muddy," from the same Proto-Germanic source. Sense of "to make muddy" is from 1670s; that of "make confused" first recorded 1680s. Meaning "to bungle" is from 1885. Related: Muddled; muddling.
1818, from muddle (v.).